Changes in Stepparent Visitation Law
Do stepparents have visitation rights in Tennessee? Yes, they do. For some stepparents, they have developed a special bond and relationship with their stepchild, that is similar to a biological parent and child relationship. Unfortunately, marriages fail and the stepparent can no longer see their stepchild on a regular basis. Tennessee law has made it possible for stepparents to have visitation rights with their stepchild. Unfortunately as of July 1, 2019, Tennessee law has made it tougher for stepparents to obtain those visitation rights.
Previously, the factors that the court looked at when determining if a stepparent was entitled to visitation with their stepchild was whether it was in the best interest of the child, and if their ex-spouse (the parent of the child) had significantly reduced or stopped the contact between the stepchild and the stepparent. As of July 1, 2019, along with proof that a stepparent’s visitation was significantly reduced by their ex-spouse, a stepparent must now show that the child will suffer from substantial mental, emotional or physical harm if the requested visitation is not granted, and that there is a significant existing relationship between the child and the stepparent. If all of those factors are proven, the court will then look at whether the visitation is in the child’s best interest. Factors the court looks to in determining whether visitation would be in the best interest of the child are the length of the relationship, existing emotional ties between the child and the stepparent, and whether awarding visitation would affect the parent-child relationship
Due to this change in the law, there is more of a burden on the stepparent to prove that they are entitled to visitation with their stepchild. If you are going through this or any other custody or visitation issue, it is important that you consult with an attorney. The attorneys at Kelli Haas & Associates are here to answer questions and to help you make informed decisions. I can be reached directly by telephone at (615) 567-7306 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.