Grandparents are not afforded many legal rights to their grandchildren in Texas. However, grandparents do have a limited number of rights that could affect the relationship between parents and their children.
If you are a parent looking to protect your parental rights, it’s important to understand grandparents’ rights under Texas law. Then, if you find yourself in a legal dispute with either set of grandparents, you can better defend your position.
I encourage you to learn more about how to win against grandparents’ rights in Texas so that you can protect the precious relationship with your children.
What Rights Are Granted to Grandparents in Texas?
Texas state law has granted certain rights to grandparents. These rights are focused on how grandparents can obtain custody of a grandchild or establish certain visitation privileges. A court may authorize these rights if the court believes this would be in the grandchild’s best interest.
– Grandparents may file suit requesting custody of their grandchildren if they believe it is in the child’s best interest.
According to the Texas Family Code, grandparents can file a suit requesting managing conservatorship of the grandchildren if they can prove one of these two arguments:
- The grandchild should live with the grandparents because the child’s current circumstances significantly impair their physical health or emotional development.
- Both parents, a surviving parent, the current managing conservator, or a custodian have consented to the suit.
– Grandparents may also request that a court authorize visitation rights if it’s in the child’s best interest and if one of these five circumstances are in play:
- The parents are divorced.
- The child has been abused or neglected by a parent.
- A parent is in jail, is incompetent, or has died.
- A court has terminated the parent-child relationship.
- The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months.
It’s worth noting that a grandparent does not have absolute or automatic rights to visitation. A court must issue a visitation order. This is where disputes arise. If you believe that grandparents rights are infringing upon your rights as a parent, then you need to know how to fight back.
Keys to Overcoming Grandparents Rights in Texas
In Texas, parental rights take precedence over grandparents rights under normal circumstances. However, if grandparents present compelling evidence to the court attempting to supersede your parental rights, then you need to present a strong counter-argument. Consider these three ways to overcome grandparents’ rights.
1. Prove The Best Interest of the Child
The court will always act in the best interest of the child. You need to present strong evidence proving why the court should not grant certain rights to the grandparents because it would not be in the best interest of your child(ren).
For example, following a divorce, the grandparents may petition the court for certain visitation rights to their grandchildren that could infringe upon your own visitation rights. Therefore, you wouldn’t be able to spend as much quality time with your children, which could harm the parent-child relationship.
If you do not believe that the court should grant the grandparents this privilege, you need to form a strong defense. While the onus is on the grandparents to present a preponderance of evidence supporting their claim, you still want to have as much evidence as possible to support your position as the parent.
2. Prove That You Have Created a Stable Environment For the Child
Again, the court will act in the best interest of the child. If the grandparents file a petition with the court seeking certain rights because they are concerned about the emotional well-being of your children, then you need to present counter-evidence against the claim.
It’s important to gather documents, testimonies from involved parties, and other supporting evidence that can help disprove the grandparents’ claims and prove your viability as a capable parent that has created a healthy environment for the children.
3. Prove That Current Contact with the Grandparents Is Sufficient
Sometimes, grandparents become overzealous, wanting the court to order dedicated visitation time with their grandchildren so that they can spend more time with them, especially if they believe that their current contact with the grandchildren is insufficient. These common situations include:
- The parents and children live far away from the grandparents.
- The grandparents believe the parents are ignoring their requests to see the grandchildren.
- The grandparents believe the parents are making false statements about them, making the grandchildren not want to see their grandparents.
- Other situations have contributed to the grandparents believing that their grandchildren are negatively impacted because of a distant or non-existent relationship with them.
If a grandparent files a petition with the court seeking formal visitation rights, then you may be asked to provide evidence of why you believe their current contact with your children is sufficient and that your children have not been harmed by the arrangements.
Find Legal Support Fighting Grandparents’ Rights in Texas
The inclusion of grandparents can be a healthy part of your child’s upbringing. However, if a dispute has arisen in your family, then it’s important to find expert legal support to ensure that your parental rights are protected.
I practice family law exclusively so that I can provide the best possible legal advice and support for my clients. I have helped many parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County form strong defenses against grandparents’ rights to protect their parent-child relationship.
If you live in one of these Texas counties and need help understanding how to win against grandparents’ rights, then call my offices to discuss your situation. You can reach me at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to get started on your case. I’m here to help!