If you find yourself in a unique child custody situation involving a guardian, you may have questions about situations where guardianship may override parental rights in Texas.
First, it’s essential to understand guardianship’s legal definition to help guide your thinking as you look to protect your rights as a parent. I’ll help unpack the Texas family law and give you the information you need to support your case.
What is a Guardianship in Texas?
In Texas, guardianship is a status that is created and monitored by the court itself. Although many people automatically assume that guardianship is only related to minors, the designation of guardianship can also include adults.
Many adults are either born or have become incapacitated mentally or physically. A guardian can be placed in charge of that person to take care of their needs and affairs.
Whether child or adult, the individual receiving care from a guardian is known as a “ward.” Additionally, guardianship can be temporary or permanent. In Texas, there are two types of guardianship:
– Guardian of the Person, which means the ward’s affairs such as medical, education, housing, and other needs are determined by the guardian’s decisions.
– Guardian of the Estate, meaning that the guardian performs property and finance decisions for the ward.
How Are Parental Rights Defined by Texas Law?
On the other hand, Texas Family Code Chapter 151 defines parental rights. This is used to determine the rights and duties involving parent-child relationships. Chapter 151 outlines some of the following rights:
- Have physical possession of the child.
- Control and protect the child.
- Determine where the child will live.
- Provide support to the child, including food and shelter.
- Make decisions about training and education.
There are many more sections in the Texas Family Code that define your rights as a parent. If you feel that a guardian is infringing on your rights, then it’s imperative that you contact me to support your case so that I can help you navigate the Texas legal system. I’ll guide you throughout the process and provide answers to each question that comes up along the way.
What Happens When Guardianship and Parental Rights Clash?
There are many types of situations where guardianship and parental rights could come into conflict. Perhaps it could be the fallout from a divorce involving a minor, a case involving an incapacitated adult, or an adult with disabilities that requires around-the-clock care from a non-parent, such as a grandparent.
Texas Estate Code Chapter 1151 discusses in part what happens when a court-appointed guardian needs to make a decision. When the guardian is a non-parent, the parents do not lose their rights, but they may not have much ground regarding certain decisions about their children.
For example, a relative such as a grandparent could be appointed as a guardian of the person to an incapacitated adult. That guardian is given the right to make decisions involving their ward’s emotional and physical welfare.
However, there could be a conflict between the parents and guardian because they cannot agree on the guardian’s medical decision-making involving the ward. The court could be asked to step in, but the guardian might be able to still make the ultimate decision based on that medical need. The parents have not lost the right to have their say in the matter, though.
In the end, the court will mediate if needed and decide based solely on what is in the best interest of the incapacitated individual.
In What Cases Would Guardianship Override Parental Rights?
In certain situations, the court will grant a guardian parental-like rights over a minor or ward for a very specific reason. This is to make sure the ward is properly looked after.
For example, a parent who has a history of violence or neglect towards a minor or ward is unlikely to retain the same decision-making rights they had before. Similarly, if parents are involved with drugs, have been incarcerated, have a history of being emotionally abusive to a minor or an incapacitated adult, or have clearly created an unsafe environment, the court will take that into consideration when considering the rights of a parent.
In these types of situations, the court may rule that guardianship overrides parental rights because the parent has neglected to uphold their duties as a parent. The guardian will be granted certain allowances to make a medical or personal decision about their ward, but the guardian should still keep the parents informed.
Parents may object to this ruling, but the court will always strive to act in the ward’s best interests. That’s why you need to form a strong case that you have met all of your duties as a parent and that you have been international about creating the best possible environment for your child.
Find Expert Support With Your Child Custody Case
Whether you are battling to retain custody of a minor or your adult child, keep in mind that you have been granted certain rights by Texas law. While a guardian might be intricately involved in the care and well-being of your child, this person’s rights do not automatically supersede your rights as a parent. Only if the court determines that you are not capable of looking out for your child’s well-being will the court consider granting parent-like rights to the guardian.
Don’t lose your rights as a parent. If you are in a difficult situation involving a guardian, then talk to me about your situation, and let’s work together to form the best possible case.
As an expert in Texas family law, I have helped countless families in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County arrive at the best possible outcome for their family. Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your child custody case. Let’s get started on forming a strong legal defense.