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Court upholds plea for visitation rights of grandparents

Parents in Montgomery, Tennessee, who are separated from their spouse, understand the importance of a well drawn child custody and visitation plan, which allows them to spend sufficient time with their children. In situations like this, grandparents also play an important role in the raising of a child.

Recently, a court out west upheld a proposal for broadening the visitation rights of grandparents in the state. The issue emerged when a woman sued her daughter-in-law for preventing her from seeing her grandson, citing a 2006 law which allows grandparents visitation rights if they helped raise the child. The boy was born in 2001 and the woman helped raise him until 2004 when her son and her daughter in law divorced.

After the divorce, the daughter in law married another man who officially adopted the child in 2009. The relationship between the daughter-in-law and her ex-husband and his mother continued to deteriorate over the years, and eventually they severed all contact between the child and his grandmother.

According to the judge presiding over the case, a grandparent can provide emotional stability and support to children when a family is torn apart by either death or divorce. In a 3-0 ruling, the judges ruled in favor of the grandmother and granted her visitation rights, citing a legislative committee report on the 2006 law.

In Tennessee, courts believe in shared parenting and prefer to award joint custody. Doing so can often avoid issues such as this one. However, this practice may differ from one county to another and from case to case.

It can be said that almost every child custody and visitation case is unique and requires a personalized approach to contest the case effectively. Hence, separating parents may choose to speak with a lawyer, who can help them understand the intricacies of Tennessee family laws.

Source:, "Court upholds broadening of right to visit grandchild," Bob Egelko, Jan. 31, 2014

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