Grandparents in Tennessee who want additional time with their grandchildren have two options, depending on the situation. They can seek visitation rights or they can seek temporary or permanent custody, as long as they meet the conditions established by the state.
The best interest of the child
All decisions regarding child custody are based on protecting the best interests of the child. In some cases, those interests are best served by giving grandparents visitation rights or custody. Some of those cases might include situations where the biological parents are unfit to take care of the child but the grandparents are deemed fit to do so, where there are situations of abuse or neglect, or when the parents have died. Other cases might result in temporary custody for grandparents when the child’s parents are getting divorced or if the child’s parents are not allowing the child’s relationship with the grandparents to develop and the court establishes that relationship is in the best interests of the child.
Factors courts consider when it comes to grandparents
As with all custody issues, there are several factors that courts will consider when grandparents seek custody or visitation rights. While these factors can vary from state to state, some common factors include:
- What the parents and grandparents wish
- What the child wishes if the child is old enough to express it
- The child’s physical, emotional, and even social needs
- The bond between the grandparents and the child
- The grandparents and the parents’ capabilities to meet the child’s needs, including financial costs
- Evidence of abuse and neglect
Not all cases where grandparents seek visitation or custody end up in court. In many cases, grandparents and parents might go through mediation to reach an agreement on custody and visitation that they can then submit to the court for approval.