What rights do grandparents have in custody cases?
Grandparents are crucial in the development and stability of their grandchildren’s life and can develop strong bonds that last a lifetime. Texas has quite advantageous grandparent visitation laws, but normally it’s the burden of the grandparent to pursue it. These rights generally apply to the custody of a grandchild or visitation privileges. In Texas, a court can authorize visitation of a grandchild.
Grandparents may file requesting custody if they believe it is in the child’s best interest.
Do any of the following circumstances exist?
- The parents divorced, or
- The parent abused or neglected the child, or
- The parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent. or died, or
- A court-order terminated the parent-child relationship, or
- The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months
Then you may have a case. Visitation statutes do not give a grandparent an absolute right to visitation. Additionally, a grandparent may not request visitation if the grandchild has been adopted by someone other than the child’s stepparent. Historically, courts have been very willing to grant visitation rights during the divorce period, in efforts to disrupt life as little as possible.
If your grandchild lives with you, you may wish to seek custody. As a custodial parent you can apply for child support. Both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial and medical support for their children if you have custody.
What if the biological parent is abusive?
If it can be demonstrated that a parent is unfit, abusive, or incompetent, courts are normally willing to grant temporary–and, in some cases, permanent–rights to grandparents. Please call Attorney John E Choate to discuss your options.
Hiring an Attorney for your family
Child custody and visitation laws surrounding grandparents’ rights are constantly changing. It is important to consider consulting a family law attorney for advice. Our firm has handled numerous grandparents’ cases and understands the importance of grandparents’ role in children’s lives. The consultation is free. Find out what we can do for you.