The separation of children and grandparents is a reality for many Tennesseans. Despite the emotional bond of grandchild and grandparent, talk of grandparent visitation is not a commonplace conversation topic. Grandparents may not recognize that there are legal channels in which they can take to see their grandchildren. Grandparents, in the best circumstances, can seek visitation rights.
In Tennessee, grandparents may have visitation rights after a child’s removal from home or placement in a facility. When a child’s legal guardians or parents lose custody of the child, the grandparent does not have to forgo seeing the child. Grandparents can attain reasonable visitation rights if the court finds that visitation is in the child’s best interests.
If a family member abused the child, the grandparent must show that he or she will protect the child from any intimidation or abuse. The grandparents must have a clean record in regards to acts against a minor.
A court will consider several matters when determining the best interests of the child. The court may look at the existing relationship between child and grandparent and the prior relationship between the two. If the child is mature enough, then the court may ask the child his or her preference.
In cases where there is hostility between grandparents and parents, the grandparent should always encourage a relationship between the guardian of the child and the child, regardless of personal feelings. The grandparent’s visitation cannot interfere with the parent-child relationship or relationship with any guardian.