When Tennessee couples split, it affects the entire family, and grandparents often become estranged from their grandkids. This is frequently the case when one parent has sole custody. You may have to go to court for visitation rights to keep your existing relationship with your grandchild.
AARP reports that grandparents connect with their grandchildren in various ways, including “skip-gen” trips and babysitting. However, Tennessee statutes preserve the parents’ rights when determining who can and cannot see their children. The law presumes that parents make decisions in the best interest of their child. If going to court is a consideration, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Mediation, court costs and attorney fees are the most common expenses. Depending on your situation, they could result in a bill in the tens of thousands of dollars. If you lose your case, you may also have to pay the other party’s legal fees, which is likely one of your grandchild’s parents.
Court proceedings are public record, placing family baggage and drama out in the open for anyone to see. If you believe your grandchild is at risk under the current living arrangements, not only are the judge and attorneys involved, but also social workers and child advocates. You and other family members may undergo psychological evaluations during the proceedings.
The court makes grandparent visitation or custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. If the legal proceedings introduce doubt regarding the children’s safety, you may retain the close bonds already established with them with partial or full custody. The burden of proof is on you, making it critical that you understand the requirements for custody and visitation.