Life often comes with unexpected circumstances that sometimes lead to challenging custodial situations for grandparents. No matter what kind of obstacle or hardship life has thrown at your family, it’s extremely helpful to understand your rights so you know what to expect with visitation and custody.
Each state has different provisions written into its statutes that determine grandparents’ rights. This includes things like visitation conditions, the appropriate venue for filing a visitation request, and the factors that play into a court’s decision to order visitation.
It may seem that most states have identical statutes regarding the rights of grandparents, but there are various ways that state courts differ in applying statutory provisions. One thing that every statute has in common, though, is that the child’s best interests must be considered by the court before granting grandparents custody or visitation.
Tennessee grandparent visitation statute deemed unconstitutional
Tennessee formerly had a grandparent visitation statute, but the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional. This has been the trend in several other states, ruling that it violates either the federal Constitution or their own respective constitutions. This has caused a number of states to make various revisions to these statutory visitation provisions, but they’re still considered unconstitutional in many cases.
Grandparent visitation statutes aren’t always rendered invalid when it’s been ruled on by an appellate court. However, when a state supreme court or the U.S. Supreme Court makes the ruling, as was the case in Tennessee, it’s no longer there to protect grandparents’ rights.
It’s crucial that grandparents understand their rights so they can be there for their families in every way possible. The system may be intimidating to navigate, but knowing your state’s statute makes it possible to do what’s best for your grandchildren.