Life does not always follow the plan we make. This can even be true when it comes to relationships between grandparents and grandchildren who, for a variety of reasons, will find themselves petitioning the state courts for visitation or even custody of their grandchildren. In Texas, there are specific criteria that grandparents must fulfill when petitioning the courts.
Grandparents’ rights to visitation
The statutes in Texas regarding grandparent visitation with their grandchildren do not automatically grant visitation to the grandparents. First, the grandparent must prove to the court that the visitation is in the best interest of the child. Additionally, the situation must meet at least one of the following criteria:
• The child’s parent must be incarcerated
• The child’s parent must have died
• The child’s parent abused or neglected the child
• The child’s parents have ended their marriage
• The relationship between the parents and the child has been legally terminated
• The grandparents and the child lived together for at least 6 months prior to the petition
Grandparents are not always allowed to seek visitation. In cases where the child has been adopted by someone who is not the child’s stepparent, grandparents will not be able to seek visitation with their grandchild.
Grandparents’ rights to custody
Petitioning for custody of the grandchild is more complicated. However, it is again done with the child’s best interest in mind. If the child is living with the grandparents, the grandparents can petition for custody of the child. This is beneficial because once custody is granted, they can also seek child support from the parents, who are required by law to provide financial support that covers the child’s personal and medical needs.
The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is important and often becomes a defining part of childhood. If your access to your grandchild has been limited by the parent, you have legal rights to help you continue your relationship.