While it’s the biological parents who carry the primary duty of caring for their offspring, non-parent guardians and other family relatives also play a great role in a child’s development. The state of Tennessee recognizes their importance, which is why grandparents in particular have visitation privileges, and at times even the right to take custody of the child. The Tennessee law puts a premium on the child’s well-being over parental ties, which is why grandparents can be given the responsibilities of legal guardianship depending on the circumstances.
There are several factors that can affect a court’s decision when it comes to the child’s custody, and consulting with a trusted Gallatin family lawyer is the best way to gain a deeper understanding of the situation’s legalities. According to an article by Grandparents.com, “Courts in every jurisdiction must consider the ’best interests of the child’ when granting custody or visitation rights to a grandparent. In some states, the relevant statute provides a list of factors the court should considered when determining a child’s best interests.”
There are two doctrines that greatly affect the court’s decision in a child custody battle. The “best interest of the child” doctrine, which is based on what is considered to be best for a child’s growth and welfare; and the “parental rights” doctrine, which presumes that staying with the biological parents is better for the child’s future. The “parental rights” doctrine is usually the biggest hindrance to non-parents during custody battles.
In Tennessee, the courts must review the child’s home situation first before determining whether it is necessary for the child to be placed under the grandparents’ custody. While laws differ from state to state, legal guardianship is usually awarded to a non-parent due to the following factors: deceased parents, abandonment, exploitation, neglect, and physical or emotional abuse. If the parent is considered unfit to care for the child, then grandparents have a bigger chance of gaining custody.
For grandparents looking to gain guardianship of their grandchildren, a reliable Gallatin, TN lawyer such as Kenneth J. Phillips, Attorney At Law can provide legal guidance and assistance throughout the entire process.
(Source: Your Guide to Grandparent Rights, Grandparents.com)