A grandparent’s love for their grandchildren is very special. They have a lifetime of knowledge and wisdom that they can impart to their grandchildren and help them develop into mature, good-natured adults. At the same time, any family law attorney in Austin will tell you that grandparents do not have the same rights as parents when it comes to visitation rights and custody.
What Rights to Grandparents in Texas Have Over Their Grandchildren?
Under Texas law, grandparents can visit their grandchildren only if the parents approve of it. The Supreme Court also clearly states that the visitation rights of grandparents are not protected by the Constitution.
The rationale behind such judgments and laws is the presumption that parents generally act in the best interests of their children. So, under normal circumstances, they have the right to decide who gets to visit the child.
Now, does this mean that there are extraordinary circumstances under which a grandparent can visit or seek custody of their grandchildren with or without the approval of the parents? There certainly are!
Visitation Rights of Grandparents in Texas
A grandparent in Texas can seek the right to visit their grandchildren – even if the parents disapprove of it – under the following scenarios:
- If the parents of the children are divorced
- If the physical and emotional wellbeing of the children might be affected if the grandparent is denied visitation
- If the parents neglect or abuse the children and do not act in their best interests
In addition to this, the court might also grant visitation rights to a grandparent if their son or daughter (the parent of the children):
- Is dead
- Has been convicted of a crime and has been imprisoned
- Is found too incompetent to raise the children
- Does not have the legal right to visit or seek custody of the children
An experienced Austin divorce attorney can assess your family’s situation and tell you if it is possible for you to get access to your grandchildren even if the parents object to it.
Custody Rights of Grandparents in Texas
Under Texas law, a grandparent can seek what is called ‘managing conservatorship’ and request the court to let the grandchildren live with them under the following scenarios:
- If the physical and/or emotional wellbeing of the children might be severely affected if they continue to stay with their parents – due to neglect, abuse, or other factors
- If one or both of the parents believe that the children’s interests would be best served by living with their grandparents and consent to modify the custody agreement
It should be noted that if the children are adopted by a third party – due to the death of the parents or due to any other reason – the grandparents are not eligible to seek visitation or custody rights since the rights of grandparents stem from the rights of the parents. Since the parents are out of the picture in this scenario, the rights of the grandparents are automatically nullified.
The laws regarding grandparents’ visitation and custody rights can be too complicated for the average person to understand. So, if you are a grandparent who wants to visit or get custody of your grandchildren, it is essential to consult a qualified Austin divorce lawyer.
A dedicated attorney will look into your case and help you get visitation rights or get custody of your grandchildren – if any of the aforementioned scenarios are applicable to you.
Choose an Experienced Grandparents’ Rights Attorney in Texas
A good law firm in the field of family law is going to know everything there is to know about divorce and the important elements of family law. Whether it is related to your children, property or any other part of the divorce, having experienced divorce lawyers on your side is a big help.
Choose the winning team at the Law Office of Willie & Dasher for the best possible legal representation for your case. To request a consultation, call 512-478-0834 or complete our online contact form.