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The best interests of a child in a grandparent visitation matter

When Tennessee parents go through a divorce, how custody matters will be arranged often depends on the best interests of the child who will be affected by the outcome. If a child's interests will be supported better in the home of one parent rather than the other, then it is likely that a court will place the child with the more appropriate parent. To this end, when making decisions that will impact children, courts try to look at their unique needs to decide how best to serve their interests.

The same principles generally hold when grandparents wish to secure visitation time with their grandkids. There are legitimate reasons that parents may wish to deny their parents the opportunity to spend time with their kids. For example, if abuse or cruelty is suspected a parent may do whatever they can to deny a grandparent access to a child. However, under certain conditions and if it would support a child's best interests, a grandparent may be able to petition a court for visitation time.

For example, in a case where a child has only one living parent, the grandparents on the side of the deceased parent may find that they do not have as much contact with their grandchild as they would like. Death of a parent is a circumstance that can give grandparents the right to petition for visitation, but the death is not enough to secure it. A grandparent must be able to show that denying their request for visitation time would place the child in danger of substantial harm and that approving the petition supports the child's best interests.

To this end, grandparents cannot get visitation time with their grandchild through the Tennessee courts just because they want to see their grandchild more often. An award of grandparent visitation will be based on many considerations, including whether such an award would support the best interests of the children involved in the matter.

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