Texas Grandparents’ Rights and Court Rulings

According to a Supreme Court ruling, grandparents have no constitutional rights to visiting or seeing their grandchildren. This ruling is based upon a common belief that parents automatically have every right to decide what is in the best interest of their child, leaving arrangements regarding a grandparent’s ability to contact the child up to the parent.

However, since Texas law does not automatically provide access to grandchildren without that approval, many grandparents might seek court intervention, but the process involves a number of obstacles. For example, in the event that the child was placed for adoption, the grandparents cannot file a petition for visitation. Courts may also refuse to hear a grandparent visitation case unless a parent has been incarcerated, has died or has been declared mentally incompetent.

After taking a case into consideration, the court must determine if visitation would be in the child’s best interest. In addition, the court may grant visitation if certain conditions exist. These include abuse or neglect by the parents, divorce, incarceration, declarations of parental incompetence, death, and court termination of the child and parent relationship. In addition, the grandparents might be granted certain rights if the child had been living with them for six months or longer.

Any grandparent who seeks to pursue a visitation rights case could seek help from a family law attorney. An attorney could help a client by providing advice regarding the case. If the case is brought before the courts, the attorney may be able to demonstrate that his or her client’s continued right to visitation is in the child’s best interests.
Source: Findlaw, “Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in Texas“, September 07, 2014

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