Do step parents have visitation rights in Tennessee?

The answer is yes.  Step parents in Tennessee do have visitations rights under certain circumstances but such rights are not entitled automatically.  T.C.A. 36-6-603 set out the following:

(a) In a suit for annulment, divorce or separate maintenance where one (1) party is a stepparent to a minor child born to the other party, such stepparent may be granted reasonable visitation rights to such child during the child’s minority by the court of competent jurisdiction upon a finding that such visitation rights would be in the best interests of the minor child and that such stepparent is actually providing or contributing towards the support of such child.

(b) Such decree shall remain within the control of the court and be subject to such changes or modification as the exigencies of the case require.

The first condition requires that visitation by the stepparent is in the best interests of the child.  The court, however, is limited by an additional economic factor.  The stepparent is entitled to visitation rights only if she or he is actually providing or contributing towards the support of the child.  As is common with custody and visitation rights between biological parents, the best interest of the child will be ultimate arbiter before the court.  The law recognizes that in certain situations, the step parent was primary caregiver of a particular child for a number of years and that it would be detrimental to the child for the same to end due to a divorce.   There are a number of factors the Court will evaluate such as length of marriage, particular facts surrounding the relationship between child and step parent, support provided, and whether the child would suffer emotionally from the loss of that person in their life.

About Roland

Roland was born in Nashville, Tennessee and raised in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. The first few years he resided in Paris, France with his mother who was French. In Hendersonville, he attended Beech Senior High School where played soccer and studied in the honors curriculum. Subsequently, he pursued two majors in political science and economics while graduating in three years.

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