Being a grandparent can be one of life’s greatest treasures. The joy of bonding with your grandchildren can bring meaning and purpose to your golden years and help pass on your family history to the next generation.
Unfortunately, some grandparents don’t always have the ability to visit their grandchildren. Due to disputes with their grandkids’ parents or other issues, access may be difficult, if not completely denied. If you’re in this situation, you might be wondering if grandparents have legal rights to see their grandchildren in Texas.
While a grandparent has no rights without a parent’s permission in many instances, Texas law does allow grandparents to win visiting rights to see their grandchildren in certain situations. These rights are not granted arbitrarily, as they may be permitted on a case-by-case basis. Let’s examine further.
When Can a Grandparent Get Visitation Rights?
There are certain instances where a judge may grant grandparent visitation rights – at least on a limited basis. These instances can occur for several reasons, but generally, they fall into a handful of categories.
1. Divorce of the Parents
When parents go through a divorce, it can turn a family’s whole life upside-down. In many cases, parents are pitted against each other, and the children end up suffering. They may become separated from other family members as parents focus on winning legal battles. In these cases, a judge might grant visitation rights to the grandparents so that the children in question are not cut off from their loved ones completely if they have had significant past contact with the grandchildren.
2. Abuse or Neglect
In situations where one or both parents are accused of abuse or neglect, the children may not be able to stay in the household for their own protection and safety. In these circumstances, the grandparents may be given visitation rights. Or, in some more extreme cases, grandparents may be granted temporary custody of their grandchildren.
3. Parental Incarceration, Incompetence, Or Death
When parents are no longer around or able to care for their children due to extreme circumstances such as prolonged incarceration, then those children will often be placed into the foster care system.
Alternatively, a judge may grant the grandparents temporary custody of their grandchildren, so they can stay with their families. If this isn’t feasible, grandparents may at least be given visitation rights so they can see their grandkids and make sure they are doing okay.
4. Already Living With Grandparents
If a grandchild lives with you for at least six months during the year, then you could eventually obtain some form of legal rights to the grandchild. Even if the living situation changes and the child goes back home for the majority of the year – or is placed into foster care – a judge could grant certain visitation rights to you as the grandparent since you had significant past contact with the child.
Know Your Rights as a Grandparent
Even though your rights as a grandparent may be limited according to Texas law, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have any rights at all. Knowing what rights you do have – and what you can legally expect – is important to understand. That’s why you need a family law attorney in your corner who’s ready to fight for you and your rights as a grandparent.
Each situation is unique and is loaded with numerous variables that must be legally navigated by an expert. This is where it’s important to have an attorney on your side that knows the intricacies of Texas family law. While Texas law does not always work in a grandparent’s favor, knowing how and when the law could work in your favor is crucial.
With almost a decade of experience practicing family law, I have helped grandparents throughout Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County fight for their legal rights to see their grandchildren. If you are a grandparent seeking visitation rights or other legal rights to your grandchild, then contact me right away to get started on your case.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your situation. Let’s work together to form the best possible legal case.