The bond between grandparents and grandchildren often has a significant positive effect on everyone involved. When family circumstances prevent grandparents from spending time with their grandkids, it can be heartbreaking. In some cases, it can also cause emotional damage to the children.
Is a parent keeping you from seeing your grandchildren? You may be able to seek visitation rights with your grandchildren through the court. Learning how the law determines whether grandparents are entitled to visitation can help you decide the next step in the process.
The grandparent’s visitation statute
In Tennessee, the law allows for grandparents to seek visitation with their grandchildren if the case meets certain criteria. These include:
- The death of a parent
- Parents who are separated, divorced or weren’t married to each other
- One parent is missing for a minimum of six months
- The child lived with you for a year or more
- A parent refuses to let you see the child, and you believe that would cause irreparable emotional harm to the child
Even though the law allows grandparents to petition for visitation rights in these circumstances, the cases are not always straightforward. You must prove to the court that your case meets one of the criteria above. One or both of the child’s parents may fight your petition.
You will have a better understanding of the specifics of how the law applies to your case if you work with a family law attorney. You will also have an advocate to protect your rights.
Don’t risk losing such an important relationship. Find out how you can maintain contact with your grandkids.