Like many other states, Texas has grandparent visitation laws. Grandparents’ rights generally apply to child custody and visitation, but every situation is a bit different. If you’re wondering what your rights are as a grandparent in Texas, these frequently asked questions may provide some guidance. You can also reach out to our experienced grandparents’ rights attorney for a free consultation.
When can a grandparent petition the court for visitation?
Texas provides a legal right for grandparents to see their grandchildren in certain situations. Generally, courts grant visitation when a grandparent has a previously established relationship with the grandchild or a specific circumstance that makes visitation in the child’s best interest.
According to the Texas Attorney General, there are many situations where the court will grant visitation to grandparents if it is in the child’s best interest. Those include:
- The child’s parents are divorced;
- The child’s parent abused or neglected the child;
- The child’s parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent, or passed away; or
- The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months.
What are a grandparent’s rights to visitation of a grandchild in Texas?
In Texas, the state has a presumption that parents have the right to decide who has access to their children. However, it is possible for a grandparent to overcome that presumption by showing the court that by removing the grandparent from the child’s life, the child’s wellbeing will be significantly impaired. An experienced attorney can help a grandparent show the court that denial of grandparent visitation would significantly impair the child’s physical or emotional wellbeing.
When can a grandparent obtain custody of a grandchild in Texas?
Generally, a court cannot interfere with a parent’s right to raise their own children. An exception to this rule is if a parent is unable to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs. A grandparent can only obtain custody of a grandchild in the following circumstances:
- The grandchild’s current home environment is not able to meet or is presenting a serious concern to the child’s emotional or physical wellbeing or
- One or both of the child’s parents agrees to grandparent custody.
A grandparent cannot bring an original custody suit against a grandchild’s parent, so it’s important that a grandparent works with a lawyer who can help file their request for custody during an existing custody case.
What if a grandchild is adopted?
Grandparents’ rights come through parental rights. If a biological grandchild has been adopted, that adoption severs the grandparents’ right to seek custody or visitation rights down the line. One exception to this is stepparent adoption. However, this right is not automatic, and the grandparent must still overcome the aforementioned assumption.
Have more questions? Contact a Sugar Land grandparents’ rights lawyer
If you’re wondering what your rights are as a Texas grandparent, Jamie Jordan, PLLC, can help. Our grandparents’ rights attorney has extensive experience representing grandparents as they seek visitation or custody rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.