Grandparents’ Rights Attorney in Spring, Texas
Grandparents can be in a difficult spot when it comes to their grandchildren. Their child’s divorce, paternity issue, or other situation can separate them. In a perfect world, the parents of grandchildren will encourage the grandchildren to have a relationship with their grandparents, regardless of any extenuating circumstances. Of course, this isn’t a perfect world, and things get messy. When they do, you may need to take legal action to be granted access to your grandchildren. That’s where Robin Scott can help.
Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC, helps grandparents who just want to spend time with their grandchildren. When parents stand in the way, she will work tirelessly to break down barriers. Robin Scott proudly serves grandparents in Spring, Texas, and the rest of the state, including Fort Bend, Harris, and Montgomery counties. Set up a one-on-one consultation as soon as you are ready to move forward.
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In Texas, Do Grandparents Have Rights to Visitation with Their Grandchildren?
In simple terms, grandparents have the right to request access to their grandchildren, whether biological or adopted. However, they do not have an absolute right to visitation under Texas law.
This means there is a legal process for requesting visitation rights, but the court does not guarantee it will grant them. You do not have the same legal standing as the parents of your grandchildren.
What Does the Court Consider in Granting Grandparents Visitation?
Visitation for grandparents can be complicated, depending on multiple circumstances the court may take into consideration.
A child’s best interest is the principal that guides the court in any matter involving them. The wishes of parents, grandparents, and others are viewed by the court through that lens. If you request visitation, you will need to prove that having this relationship with you is, indeed, in the child’s best interest, often by proving that not having a relationship with you will be harmful to the child.
To request visitation, one of your grandchildren’s parents must still have parental rights. In other words, if both parents are deceased or both have had their parental rights terminated and the children have been adopted or are under the legal custody of someone else, you cannot request visitation. You have no legal right to visitation if your grandchildren are adopted by someone else.
The court will also consider your petition if your child has been incarcerated, died, found by the court to be incompetent, or lacks actual access to the child or court-ordered access.
To pursue legal visitation rights, you will need to file an original suit with the appropriate Texas family court or file a request to modify an existing child custody order to allow access.
Can Grandparents Sue for Custody of Grandchildren?
In some circumstances, grandparents may want to have not just visitation rights, but custody of grandchildren. In Texas, this involves legal action to become a managing conservator. These actions are increasingly common in situations where grandchildren are essentially living with a grandparent instead of either parent. Grandparents are naturally concerned about the safety of their grandchildren in homes where the parents demonstrate neglect or shirk their parental responsibilities.
There is a legal presumption in Texas that parents should have custody, referred to as “conservatorships” of their children. This presumption can make it extremely difficult for a grandparent to prove that their grandchildren are better off living with them rather than one or both parents.
Particularly in situations where you fear the health and safety of your grandchildren when under a parent’s custody, you may want to take action right away. You cannot deny a parent’s right to remove their child from your home if they have custody. However, grandparents can sue for conservatorship of their biological and adopted grandchildren. Again, you will need to prove to the court that living with you is in the best interest of your grandchildren.
Certainly, if both your child and the other parent of your grandchildren are deceased, or if they have voluntarily given up the grandchildren, grandparents can make a strong case for being awarded conservatorship. It follows that since the court believes parental custody is usually in the best interest of the children, custody of the grandparent would serve their best interest if the parents are unable or unwilling to exercise custody.
Grandparents’ Rights Attorney in Spring, Texas
The burden of proof is a high bar in visitation and conservatorship issues, so it is wise to work with a family law attorney who has successfully represented grandparents in the past. The path is difficult. Sharing it with an experienced attorney, like Robin Scott, will make it far easier to travel. If you want to know more about the rights of grandparents to visitation and custody, call Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC, now to schedule an appointment.