As a grandparent, it can be heartbreaking to be denied the opportunity to see your grandchildren. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many grandparents in Texas. However, there are circumstances in which grandparents may have a legal right to access their grandchildren.
Here are some key things to know about grandparent access laws in Texas.
When Can Grandparents Seek Access to Their Grandchildren?
In Texas, parents have the right to deny visitation to a grandparent, but there are circumstances in which grandparents can legally seek visitation with their grandchildren.
These circumstances include the following:
- The parents are divorced.
- The parents abused or neglected the child.
- The child’s parent is dead, incompetent, or incarcerated.
- A court terminated the parental rights of the parent related to the grandparent.
Additionally, grandparents must demonstrate that visitation with them is in the best interest of the child. This typically requires showing that the child's physical or emotional well-being is at risk without the grandparents’ involvement.
What If a Grandchild Is Adopted?
Grandparents of a child’s biological parents don’t have a right to visitation. In these situations, however, a child’s biological parents may have both had their rights terminated, relinquished, or both parents are dead.
How Can Grandparents Seek Visitation?
If grandparents meet the requirements above, they can petition the court for access to their grandchildren. This may involve filing a lawsuit or requesting intervention in an existing custody case. Alternatively, grandparents may be able to negotiate a visitation agreement with the child's parents outside of court.
Can Grandparents Seek Custody of a Grandchild?
In certain circumstances, grandparents may be able to seek custody of their grandchildren. This typically requires showing that the child's parents are unfit or that living with the grandparents would be in the child's best interest.
It’s advisable to consult with a family law attorney who can assess the situation and provide the legal support you need.
How Can a Family Attorney Help Me?
Navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, especially when emotions are running high. An experienced family law attorney can help grandparents understand their rights and options, negotiate with the child's parents, and advocate for them in court if necessary.
If you are a grandparent in Texas who has been denied access to your grandchildren, it’s important to know that you may have legal options.
Contact Kay Polk, Attorney at Law, to schedule a consultation and learn more about your rights under Texas law.