A grandparent’s relationship with their grandchild is a special bond unlike any other. Many look forward to spending their later years with their grandchildren, treating them much like they treat their own children. From lazy Sunday afternoons with fresh-baked cookies to exciting zoo adventures, spending time with your grandkids yields treasured memories and important familial bonds.
Unfortunately, there are times when grandparents may be denied access to their grandchildren for reasons outside of their control. If you are a grandparent and you are being unfairly prevented from seeing your grandchild, call us and Landry & Azevedo today. Our team of experts has represented numerous grandparents who seek to see their grandchildren more and we’ve successfully reunited many grandparents with their grandchildren.
Does A Grandparent Have A Right To Visit His Or Her Grandchild?
In the state of Tennessee, the answer to this question is generally yes. However, it can be a complicated issue, and there are situations where it may be difficult to assert that right without proper legal representation.
Two married people with children are legally presumed to be fit parents. This distinction means they are granted a certain amount of freedom in how they handle their children’s lives and care. That freedom also applies to their children’s relationships with their grandparents.
Once presumed fit as parents, courts in the state of Tennessee have no legal right to intervene in a married couple’s parenting. The Court automatically presumes the decisions made by both parents are theirs to make and in the best interests of the children.
The special bond between a grandparent and a grandchild is, in fact, recognized by the state of Tennessee. However, certain conditions must be met before a court can step in on your behalf and order visitation rights.
There are times when the parent of a child may unjustly interfere with a grandparent’s right to see their grandchild. These situations include:
Standard parental interference (wherein the coupe are still married, but one or both spouses are barring a grandparent from visitation)
Parental interference following a divorce (wherein one or both parents prevents the grandparent from visiting with the child)
Widow or widower interference (wherein the surviving spouse prevents the grandparent from visiting with the grandchild)
If you are facing any of these issues in Knoxville or surrounding counties, or believe you are being unfairly restricted from your grandchildren, get in touch with our office today. We’re here to help guide our clients.
Requesting A Hearing For Grandparent Visitation
In the state of Tennessee, there are a number of conditions under which you may request a court hearing for grandparent visitation rights, some of which include:
The parents are divorced or never married
One or both parents is deceased
There exists a court order from another state authorizing grandparent visitation
One or both parents are neglecting the children
One or both parents are declared missing for at least six months prior to the hearing
What happens if none of these conditions apply? What if there is a marriage in place, and
the court deems the parents fit, and none of the circumstances listed above apply? In that case, it would be up to you to prove in a court of law that it is in the best interests of your grandchild for there to be grandparent visitation rights. You can, of course, recruit the help of a qualified Knoxville grandparent visitation attorney.
Regardless of whether any of the above conditions apply to your situation or not, it is imperative that you get the right legal representation to address your visitation rights as a grandparent. Landry & Azevedo can provide that representation.
Troxel V Granville And Why It Matters
Troxel v. Granville was a landmark 2000 Supreme Court case that influenced the status of grandparent visitation rights in the United States. The decision solidified the notion that parents are presumed fit to care for their child unless proven otherwise.
The case stands for the proposition that parents are granted the civil liberty to govern their children’s care, and behavior, and are given leeway in that decision-making before the child turns 18. These liberties include how much access to grand grandparents to their grandchildren.
In the eyes of the Court, a grandparent is considered a non-parent, and does not by default have a legally enforceable right to see their grandchildren. Again, the Court presumes the parents automatically act in the best interests of their children, even if that action is restricting grandparent visitation. The parent does not have to justify this decision to the Court.
However, if the child is at risk of enduring physical, sexual, or emotional harm, or falls within one of the previously enumerated categories, the Court may intercede on your behalf to protect the child.
Know Your Rights When It Comes To Grandchildren
There’s no denying that time with your grandchildren is irreplaceable, and the bonds formed during that time can enhance both your life and theirs. Sadly, there are times when you may be unfairly restricted from experiencing that time or seeing your grandchildren at all.
Regardless of their justification, the fact remains that parents of a child have a substantial liberty in restricting grandparent visitation, assuming they are deemed fit parents. However, there are several specific conditions recognized by the law that will grant court-ordered visitation to you.
If you are being unjustly prevented from seeing your grandchildren, contact our qualified to at Landry & Azevedo today. Don’t waste any more precious time wondering whether you will see your grandchild again. We can help evaluate your case and determine the best approach, formulate a fair visitation plan, and take action today.