The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren plays an integral role in every child’s development. In order to protect that relationship, the state of Texas has created certain laws relating to visitation and grandparents’ rights to legal custody of their grandchildren. Unfortunately, these laws tend to be fairly narrow and difficult to navigate.
Oftentimes, a child may be better off with their grandparents for a number of reasons. Perhaps the custodial parent is just not capable of raising a child with the same benefits the grandparents may provide. But, in order for a grandparent to be granted legal custody and/or visitation of their grandchildren, specific criteria must be met.
Grandparents Rights for Legal Custody in Texas
When a grandparent strongly believes that it is in their grandchild’s best interest for them to take custody of the child due to a significant impairment to the child’s physical health or emotional well-being, the grandparent has the ability to file a suit. Grandparents may also have grounds to file suit for custody if the child has been in their care, custody, and control for six months or more.
First, an important criterion that must be met is whether the grandparent is indeed the biological or adoptive grandparent of the child in question. If a parent of the child has had their rights terminated, the original grandparent may no longer have any rights to request visitation or custody.
Furthermore, a grandparent must provide sufficient evidence to the court that it is most surely in the child’s best interest that custody or visitation be granted to the grandparent. This means that the grandparent can provide a higher standard of living for the grandchild that cannot be met by his or her custodial parent, or that the child would be significantly harmed if access to the child is not granted, as per the discretion of the Texas court system.
Grandparents’ rights tend to be restricted in Texas. If you are concerned about your grandchild’s well-being and believe you can provide better care compared to their current living conditions, or you believe you are entitled to court-ordered visitation with your grandchild, then it is imperative to have a family law attorney on your side to help you gain custody and/or visitation rights.
Criteria for Custody and Visitation
Due to the tricky nature of custodial laws, a grandparent is only eligible for custody and/or visitation if at least one of the following is met:
- The parent has abused and/or neglected the child
- The parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent, or died
- The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months
- The grandparents have had significant contact with the child, and not allowing visitation would impair the child’s physical and emotional well-being
While these criteria form the basis of grandparents’ rights in Texas, they do not automatically guarantee visitation and/or custody.
An abusive or absent parent may be grounds enough for custody to be granted, but when dealing with something as important as your grandchild’s well-being, you want to do everything possible to support your legal argument.
Texas law is incredibly stringent in order to protect the rights of the parent-child relationship. But grandparents still have rights, and the right attorney can help grandparents exercise their rights for the benefit of the child or children in question.
Child Support for Grandparents With Custody
If you are granted custody of your grandchild, then you are entitled to child support as any custodial parent is. Both parents are required to provide financial and medical support by law. This support is essential to maintaining the well-being of the child, so it is very important to make sure you are awarded all the support that you need when given custody.
You want the best for your grandchildren, and it is important to pursue your rights, but you can’t do it alone. Because of the strict nature of Texas law relating to grandparents’ rights, you will need an attorney in your corner to get the best outcome for you and your family.
Work With an Experienced Family Law Attorney
My practice is exclusively focused on family law matters so that I can remain fully committed to getting the best results for my clients in the family law courts.
Over the last nine years, I have honed my skills as a dedicated family attorney, which has led to my practice being very successful at helping families reach their goals. Whenever you need firm and consistent support, you can count on my expertise and commitment to your case.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your grandparents’ rights and legal custody pursuit. Texas law is difficult to navigate in this area, and you need an expert in your corner to help you arrive at the best outcome for you and your grandchildren.