Nashville Grandparents’ Rights Attorney
Skilled Grandparents’ Rights Attorneys Serving Nashville, Tennessee
The excitement of becoming a grandparent is real. Despite all its benefits, this relationship often comes with a lot of uncertainty since grandparents don’t share the same rights as the children’s biological or adopted parents.
However, just because people assume grandparents don’t have the same rights as parents, it doesn’t mean they don’t have any rights at all. It can be possible for grandparents to qualify for custody and visitation if and when specific requirements are met.
Here is everything you must know about grandparents’ rights and what our Rogers, Shea & Spanos Nashville grandparents’ rights attorney can do to help you navigate such critical issues.
They Are Not The Same As Parental Rights.
Unfortunately, you will not find a clear-cut answer to this question. Most people don’t understand grandparents’ rights and how they apply. However, these rights can be generally defined as the authority to care for their grandchildren and influence their lives. Nevertheless, compared to parental rights, this authority is quite limited.
The parents, not grandparents, tend to have complete physical and legal custody of their children. It includes the right to care for and live with them, make important decisions on their behalf, and figure out how they must be raised. All these custodial powers are inherent and can’t be taken away unless it would be in the child’s best interest (ideally only in cases of domestic abuse or neglect).
However, grandparents don’t have such inherent rights. Though you may have raised one of the child’s parents, it won’t give you the right to be the top authority in your grandchild’s life. With that said, if you meet specific requirements, you may qualify for some limited rights.
Grandparents’ Rights When Parents Separate
There are two primary branches of child custody: physical and legal.
Legal custody gives a parent some decision-making power, while physical custody will provide you with a child’s physical time, including visitation.
When the court is presented with either paternity or a divorce case, these custodial powers are divided based on the child’s best interest.
“If you are a grandparent in such scenarios, we can fairly declare you will not get any legal authority over the children as long as both parents are fit and alive. However, you do have an option to sue for visitation,” – says Helen Sfikas Rogers, a professional Nashville grandparents’ rights attorney from Rogers, Shea & Spanos. In most states, a grandparent could request a reasonable visitation with their grandchildren if:
- There is some form of a pre-existing relationship between the grandchild and the grandparent.
- It would be in the child’s best interest to keep their relations healthy through visitation.
Let us look into both these requirements in detail to help you better understand what they mean.
Pre-Existing Relationship and the Best Interest of the Child
Like with grandparents’ rights, there is no set timeline requirement or definition for what qualifies as a pre-existing relationship. Instead, the court will look at whether it was enough time to form a deep, meaningful bond with the grandparents and if it’s in the child’s best interest to continue nurturing that bond.
Again, a lot of this is subjective, but when deciding a child’s best interest, a Nashville grandparents’ rights attorney and the court may look at the following factors:
- Overall health, well-being, and safety of the child
- Any alcohol or drug use
- Any record of domestic abuse or violence by anyone looking for custody – be it, parents or grandparents
- How often were grandparents in contact with the children before suing for visitation?
With all these questions in mind, the court will decide what works best for the child. The court must consider their wishes if the children are over fourteen years old.
Contact a Nashville Grandparents’ Rights Attorney Today
Becoming a grandparent is quite a rewarding life experience. And while you might not have a lot of authority over your grandchildren, there are a few grandparents’ rights that you must keep in mind. At Rogers, Shea & Spanos, we have years of training and courtroom experience to represent you in court. If you have any more questions about grandparents’ rights, feel free to contact our team. Call us today at 888-521-9952 to schedule an appointment right away!