W. Tyler Moore, PC

Do grandparents in Texas have visitation rights?

Grandparents in Texas can play an important role in a child's life. They can pass on their years of wisdom, and they provide love and support as a child grows. So, if something happens that severs that relationship, it can be very distressing for both the grandparents and the grandchild.

Sometimes, a child's parents divorce, and, unfortunately, this sometimes means that the grandparents are kept from seeing their grandchild. For example, due to the animosity between the parents, one parent may not want the child to visit with their ex's parents. When this happens, grandparents in Texas may wonder if they have any legal rights to visitation with their grandchild.

States, including Texas, can address the issue of grandparents' rights. In Texas, if the child's parents allow it, grandparents can have visitation with their grandchild. However, if a parent does not allow a grandparent to have visitation with the grandchild, Texas grandparents may turn to the court to pursue visitation.

However, this is not always easy. In general, grandparent visitation cases will only be heard if a parent is in jail, is mentally incompetent, is dead or is not residing with the child. In addition, if both the parents passed away or have given up their parental rights and the child is adopted, the child's grandparents are not permitted to seek visitation.

If the grandparent's petition for visitation does make it into court, visitation may be awarded if certain factors are met. First of all, the visitation must be in the best interests of the child. Second, one of the following factors must be met: the child's parents must be divorced; there have been incidents of child abuse or neglect at the hands of the parents; the parent is in jail; the parent is incompetent; the parent has passed away; a court has legally ended the relationship between one parent and the child; or the child and the grandparent have lived together for a minimum of half a year.

In the end, while there are instances where grandparent visitation will be allowed, it is not an automatic right. Grandparents who want to learn more about their rights may want to seek the advice of an attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Grandparents' Visitation Rights in Texas," Accessed Aug. 21, 2017

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