There's a popular saying that it takes a village to raise a child. For many families, that village includes the grandparents of the children. As a grandparent, you get to watch your grandchild grow up and delight in their joy. Grandparents often pride themselves on spoiling their grandchildren. Others may have to step up and do more than just provide a fun day out occasionally.
If your child has trouble parenting, works full-time or struggles with addiction, you may do more as a grandparent than others. In some cases, your child and grandchildren may even live with you. Grandparents who have an active role in a child's life often have a close bond with them. That bond is important to the child as well as the grandparent.
When situations that complicate your relationship arise, such as your child going through a divorce or your grandchildren ending up in foster care, you may need to take steps to enforce your rights as a grandparent. Thankfully, Tennessee recognizes the importance of grandparent relationships.
You likely have the right to request visitation in Tennessee
Regardless of whether you are an adoptive or biological grandparent, you have rights if you have an established relationship with the child. Tennessee allows grandparents to seek visitation rights, even if the custodial parent is not amenable to visitation. While many states do not specifically protect grandparents in custody disputes, Tennessee does.
Generally, the Tennessee family courts will consider many factors when looking at a request for grandparent visitation. As in any custody matter, the primary focus of the courts is the best interest of the children involved. So long as you have a positive and pre-existing relationship with the child, the courts will likely find that allowing visitation supports a healthy relationship and serves the best interest of the child.
As a grandparent, you have a lot to offer
Especially in situations where a child does not have an ongoing relationship with both parents, regular visitation with a grandparent can be very beneficial. Children need to feel loved and supported. They also require guidance and instruction from adults. As an older adult, you already have a wealth of life experience to draw from when helping your grandchild.
More importantly, you probably aren't directly involved in the issues disturbing your grandchild's living situation. Whether custody issues come up because of a divorce or because your child loses custody, that does not reflect your ability to help the child or maintain a healthy relationship. If you love your grandchildren and worry about losing out on being part of their lives, you may need to go to court and ask that they allocate visitation rights to you.