Grandparent Rights Attorney in Knoxville, TN
It is heartbreaking when grandparents are unable to visit their grandchildren. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many grandparents, and it mostly arises because of distance or a lack of a mutual schedule. Sometimes, this is the result of willful prevention of visitation by custodial parents after bitter custody battles.
In such cases, the grandparents might wish to seek visitation rights to a child with the help of a grandparent rights attorney in Knoxville, TN. The rights of grandparents in Knoxville are set out in the local law; under some circumstances and according to the 2017 Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 36-6-3036, a grandparent may file for a visitation petition if any of the following items are true:
- The parents of the child are not legally married, and either parent is deceased
- Biological parents are divorced, never married, or separated
- Either of the parents has been missing for more than six months
- Another jurisdiction has ordered grandparent visitation
- The child has resided with his or her grandparents for more than 12 months
- Grandparents have a “significant relationship” with the child, and removal will put the child at risk of harm
The local law also sets out an analysis to prove that failure to allow visitation would cause substantial harm to the child. This is also called the harm standard; a standard that the court employs to determine if a child would be substantially harmed emotionally by not allowing visitation by grandparents. There are three main requirements to meet this standard:
– The child’s present relationship with their grandparent is significant enough that its termination will emotionally harm the child
– The grandparent had previously been the child’s primary caregiver to the extent that the child would be deprived of daily needs without said care
– The child will suffer substantial and direct harm if the significant existing relationship with the grandparent is terminated
If a grandparent is granted a court hearing, he or she must present evidence that the child would be in danger should the visitation be stopped. In such cases, the degree of harm or instability should be a cause of concern and not something trivial or inconsequential. Additionally, such harm must be highly probable.
Maintaining regular contact with your grandchildren
One common misconception is that grandparents do not have rights to the visitation of a child. While parents may for whatever reason refuse to grant visitation to grandparents, there are specific circumstances where they have the legal grounds to petition for visitation rights with the courts in Knoxville. Shepherd & Associates, P.C., is ready to assist you with any matter regarding grandparent rights.
Sometimes in bitter divorce settlements, a custodial parent may wilfully prevent or hinder a child from spending time with their non-custodial parent or grandparents. Where reasonable negotiations fail to restore your visitation rights as a grandparent, you may pursue this in the local courts of Knoxville, TN. However, you will also need to prove that failure to provide visitation will cause grievous harm to the child, or that continued contact will produce measurable benefits.
Our experienced grandparent rights attorney in Knoxville, TN can help you establish the history of your relationship with your grandchild and thus prove its importance. Grandparents may also be able to get visitation rights if the child is in foster care, or even in the case of adopted children.
Pursuing full custody of your grandchildren
Occasionally, custody of children can be passed on to individuals other than the grandparents in the event of both parents’ death. Also, in some of these cases, your grandchildren might be victims of abuse or different dangerous situations. If you feel that you can take better care of your grandchildren than the foster parents, you may petition to take over the full custody of your grandchildren.
Some of the circumstances that could warrant you to apply for the custody of kids include:
- Evidence of abuse or harm in the foster home
- Proof of inadequate supervision or constant neglect
- A history of providing positive custodial care to your grandchildren over extended periods
Seek help from a skilled grandparents rights attorney in Knoxville
As of now, Tennessee law prioritizes parental care over grandparent’s rights. That applies when both birth parents remain in marriage and have no issues of parental fitness. In such a case, they will have more control over grandparent visits without judicial interference.
Grandparents’ rights laws are highly complex and continuously evolving in Knoxville, TN. Thus, seeking grandparents rights in this area can be a complicated and tedious process. Let our experienced family attorneys guide you through with minimal hassle.
SHEPHERD & ASSOCIATES, P.C.
Shepherd & Associates is located in Maryville, TN and serves clients in and around Rockford, Walland, Alcoa, Louisville and Blount County.
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