In most families, grandparents play a significant role in the lives of grandchildren. I have some great memories spending time with my grandparents growing up in Nashville. I was lucky to have both sets of grandparents until I was well into my twenties. In some families, however, grandparents are at odds with the parents and the relationship between the grandparents and the grandchildren is affected. When this happens, the grandparents may be required to resort to the courts in order to spend time with their grandchildren.
As a general rule, parents have the right to parent their children as they see fit. This includes the right to decide with whom the children will associate. The right to parent one’s children is founded on the right to privacy contained in the United States Constitution. Before the court can abridge that right, it must be shown that the failure to do so would result in severe emotional harm to the children.
In Tennessee, grandparents have a right to visit with their unmarried minor grandchildren, but only if the parents refuse to allow grandparent visitation and that refusal results in severe emotional harm to the children.
The laws regarding grandparent visitation are complicated. If you are considering filing a grandparent visitation case, it is imperative to hire an attorney knowledgeable in the area of grandparent visitation rights.