Montgomery County Grandparent’s Rights Attorney
Protecting the rights of grandparents for more than 15 years
All states have statutes regarding grandparent’s visitation – and sometimes others such as foster parents or stepparents. These parties can request that the court grant them the legal right to continue their relationships with grandchildren. State laws vary significantly regarding the details and circumstances of such visits and it is important to understand the laws for the state in which the grandchild lives. Clarksville family lawyer Ryan K. McFarland is knowledgeable in all aspects of Tennessee family law, including divorce, child custody, grandparent’s rights, and other family matters.
Tennessee puts a child’s best interests first
Like most states, Tennessee bases its child custody and visitation decisions on what the court believes is in the best interests of the child. In fact, the Tennessee courts are actually required to explain – in writing – the legal basis for custody decisions, and why that decision is in the best interests of the child.
Tennessee’s statute regarding grandparent visitation
Grandparents have the right to file a petition for visitation with their grandchild. Deciding that the earlier statute regarding grandparent visitation was unconstitutional, the Tennessee Legislature amended the statute to more closely align with the terms of the state constitution. The new statute states that the Tennessee court may grant visitation rights to a grandparent in certain circumstances, only if such grandparent visitation is opposed by the custodial parent or parents or custodian or if the grandparent visitation has been severely reduced by the custodial parent or parents or custodian , and one of the following factors apply:
When the child’s mother or father is deceased
When the child’s parents are divorced
If the child’s parents were never married to one another
If the child’s mother or father has been missing for the prior six month period
If another state court has ordered grandparent visitation
If the child previously lived with the grandparent for a period of one year or more
If the child and grandparent(s) maintained a close relationship for one year
If one of the above circumstances exists, and it is decided that grandparent visitation is in the best interests of the child, then the court may award grandparent’s visitation rights. It is important to note that simply arguing that grandparent visitation is in the child’s bests interests of the child is not enough to go against a parent’s objections without the existence of one of these circumstances.
Family matters are particularly challenging
Parenting is challenging in the best of circumstances. When a couple separates or divorces, or experiences another family circumstance that causes stress on the family unit, other family members – such as grandparents – can play a vital role in the child’s life. In some situations, this involvement is welcome; in others, it is denied. Understanding the rights of parents and grandparents is important for those who are facing these challenges. Ryan K. McFarland of McFarland Law provides experienced, compassionate counsel to Tennessee families regarding grandparent’s rights, child custody, child support, alimony, and other family matters. To speak with Attorney McFarland, contact the Clarksville office at (931) 919-4376 or online.