Juvenile Court Judge John Bell settled a dispute over custody of the youngsters, ages 4 to 12, by deciding they will spend the school year with grandparents in Georgia and vacations with grandparents in Tennessee.
The judge warned the grandparents to keep the youngsters away from churches where serpents are handled.
The children's maternal grandparents had argued that the youngsters would be safer with them. They do not belong to a snake-handling church.
The youngsters' father, John Wayne ``Punkin'' Brown Jr., 34, belonged to a sect that believes faith protects Christians who handle poisonous snakes.
Brown died in October after being bitten by a rattlesnake at a worship service. When asked whether he wanted medical help, he shook his head and pointed to the sky. His wife, Melinda Brown, 28, died under similar circumstances in 1995.
Brown's father is himself a snake-handling minister with his own church. During a custody hearing Thursday, the elder Brown said children are not allowed to handle serpents in his church.
Asked if he would seek medical help if bitten, Brown Sr. said he would have to ``pray about it.'' ``But I say that if you can't get help through prayer, go get some help,'' he told the judge.