Grandparent Rights Lawyer in Knoxville

  • Grandparents are often forced to take on parenting responsibilities with their grandchildren for a variety of reasons that range from tragedy to ineffective parenting by the biological parents. Many times, after a child’s grandparents have voluntarily filled the role of caregiver and financial provider for some time, one or both of the child’s biological parents seek to reenter the child’s life and attempt to limit or cut-off the grandparents’ access to the child.  Such behavior by a biological parent can result in severe emotional trauma to the child(ren) and the grandparents and could also place the child(ren)’s physical health at risk in some situations.
  • Under Tennessee law, to qualify as a legal grandparent you must be a biological grandparent, the spouse of a biological grandparent or the parent of an adoptive parent. Grandparents can petition the Court for visitation if the custodial parent will not allow them to have access to their grandchildren under the following circumstances:
    • One (or both) of the child’s parents is deceased, divorced, legally separated or never married to each other;
    • One of the child’s parents has been missing for at least six months;
    • The child has lived in the grandparent’s home for twelve months or more and was subsequently removed by the parent;
    • There exists a significant relationship between the grandparent and grandchild for at least twelve months. The parent ended the relationship not because of abuse or endangerment, and the ending of this relationship is likely to cause “substantial emotional harm” to the child; or
    • Another state has ordered visitation for the grandparent
  • When deciding grandparent visitation/custody cases, Tennessee courts will always base their decision on what they believe to be in the best interest of the child. The governing statute specifically considers the probability that ending a significant existing relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild could cause “direct and substantial harm” to the child.
  • If the court decides that there is a risk of harm to the child if visitation is prohibited, the court will make a ruling on visitation that is in the best interests of the child. However, if the court decides that there is no danger to the child if visitation is prohibited, the court leaves the decision of visitation to the parents.
  • If you feel that your relationship with your grandchild is being threatened or want to ensure there are legal protections in place that protect your grandchild and/or your role as caregiver, one of our Tennessee grandparent rights attorneys can provide you with the information needed to make informed decisions regarding your grandchild’s mental and physical wellbeing.

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