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Understanding grandparent custody and visitation rights

Grandparent visitation and custody have been recognized rights in Tennessee and around the country for many years. These rights are often an issue when a child has been placed in foster care, has been adopted, or if the parents are deceased.

The laws regarding child custodial rights for grandparents are typically not as specific as those for grandparent visitation. If both parents are deceased, grandparents will be included in the custody considerations in many states. If one or both parents of the child are alive, the courts will generally rule that the parent should have custody. It can be very difficult for a grandparent to obtain custody of a grandchild without the consent of the parent or parents. The grandparents will have to prove that the parent of the child is unfit to adequately care for a child.

For grandparent visitation rights to be granted, there are several conditions that must be satisfied. Many states require that the marital status of the parents be considered before the courts decide whether visitation is suitable. Some of those states will only consider the parents' marital status if the parents have denied grandparents visitation rights, while others consider it if the grandchild resided with the grandparents for a certain amount of time. In other states, at least one parent has to be deceased before visitation can be granted to the parent of the deceased parent of the child.

Child custody and visitation issues may require the intercession of a family law attorney. The attorney may advise a client of his or her state's regulations regarding custody and visitation rights for parents, grandparents and guardians. While mediation sessions can often solve these types of disputes, litigation is sometimes necessary.

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Stanley A. Kweller, Attorney at Law
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Nashville, TN 37201

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