Grandparents' Motion for Visitation with a Grandchild
Posted by Dr. Michael A. S. Guth
This article provides a free sample form that can be used in Tennessee (and modified by an attorney for use in other states) to enable grandparents to seek visitation rights with one or more grandchildren. Grandparents do not have automatic rights of visitation, but they should be encouraged to seek (court-ordered) visitation if it is in the best interests of the child.
Come Joseph P. Barker, Sr., and Betty L. Barker, the paternal grandfather and paternal step-grandmother of Susan R. Barker, through counsel, and respectfully move this court for an Order permitting them to visit with their granddaughter and, as to the reasons therefor, would show this Honorable Court as follows:
1. Susan Barker has been a ward of this court since 1999.
2. Her whereabouts are unknown to them.
3. Prior to Susan becoming a ward of this court she was in the custody of your petitioners.
4. Because of a determination by this court that she required treatment for conditions unrelated to movants' custody, Susan was removed from their care and placed into the custody of the Tennessee Dept. of Children's Services.
5. Susan would greatly benefit from visitation with the petitioners under such circumstances as may be ordered by this Court.
6. The present case is governed by Tenn. Code Ann. Â§ 36-6-306, which provides in pertinent part as follows:
(b) (1) In considering a petition for grandparent visitation, the court shall first determine the presence of a danger of substantial harm to the child. Such finding of substantial harm may be based upon cessation of the relationship between an unmarried minor child and the child's grandparent if the court determines, upon proper proof, that:
(A) The child had such a significant existing relationship with the grandparent that loss of the relationship is likely to occasion severe emotional harm to the child;
(B) The grandparent functioned as a primary caregiver such that cessation of the relationship could interrupt provision of the daily needs of the child and thus occasion physical or emotional harm; or
(C) The child had a significant existing relationship with the grandparent and loss of the relationship presents the danger of other direct and substantial harm to the child.
(2) For purposes of this section, a grandparent shall be deemed to have a significant existing relationship with a grandchild if:
(A) The child resided with the grandparent for at least six (6) consecutive months;
(B) The grandparent was a full-time caretaker of the child for a period of not less than six (6) consecutive months; or
(C) The grandparent had frequent visitation with the child who is the subject of the suit for a period of not less than one (1) year.
(c) Upon an initial finding of danger of substantial harm to the child, the court shall then determine whether grandparent visitation would be in the best interests of the child based upon the factors in Â§Â§ 36-6-307. Upon such determination, reasonable visitation may be ordered.
7. The factors that the court will consider in awarding visitation to the grandparents are
provided in Tenn. Code Ann. Â§ 36-6-307:
36-6-307. Determination of best interests of child for grandparent visitations
In determining the best interests of the child under Â§Â§ 36-6-306, the court shall consider all pertinent matters, including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:
(1) The length and quality of the prior relationship between the child and the grandparent and the role performed by the grandparent;
(2) The existing emotional ties of the child to the grandparent;
(3) The preference of the child if the child is determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference;
(4) The effect of hostility between the grandparent and the parent of the child manifested before the child, and the willingness of the grandparent, except in case of abuse, to encourage a close relationship between the child and the parent or parents, or guardian or guardians of the child;
(5) The good faith of the grandparent in filing the petition;
(6) If the parents are divorced or separated, the time-sharing arrangement that exists between the parents with respect to the child; and
(7) If one (1) parent is deceased or missing, the fact that the grandparents requesting visitation are the parents of the deceased or missing person.
8. Petitioners have a strong, loving bond for their granddaughter, Susan Barker, and have maintained a room for her within their home, and the items of personal property that she left behind, in the hopes that Susan would one day return to living with them or at least would visit with them again.
9. Social Worker Cheryl Quinn has advised this court that Susan is displaying suicidal ideation, poor hygiene, lying, and stealing. According to Cheryl Quinn, Susan has required numerous foster care placements, and she has sabotaged all foster-to-adopt attempted placements for her. Petitioners believe Susan's actions reflect a deep-seated desire to live with her natural relatives, and that the first step in that process is to allow visitation between the petitioners and their granddaughter so that they can renew communication and family ties.
WHEREFORE, Petitioners respectfully move this Court for:
1. An expedited hearing on this Motion.
2. That at the hearing, Susan, who is now age 13, be brought forward to declare her
interest in renewing visitation and contact with the petitioners.
3. That at the hearing they be permitted to visit with Susan at such times and under such circumstances as this Court shall deem reasonable.
4. That they may have such other, further, and general relief to which they may be entitled.
Respectfully submitted this 7th day of August 2002.
Dr. Michael A. S. Guth, BPR # 019039
Attorney for Petitioners
116 Oklahoma Ave.
Oak Ridge, TN
Phone: (865) 483-8309
Dr. Michael A. S. Guth, Ph.D., J.D., is an attorney at law based in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. His practice focuses on enabling people to represent themselves pro se without a lawyer (and thereby save on legal fees), as well as full representation for appellate practice. One area his work has particularly emphasized is child support defense and elimination of the unconstitutional debtor prisons that now saturate our court jurisdictions across the nation. For more information, see URL http://riskmgmt.biz/prose.htm and http://riskmgmt.biz/samplepleadings.htm