In some Texas families, grandparents may have grandchildren who live with them and who thus need to obtain a custody order from the court. In others, a child’s biological parent may be preventing a grandparent from seeing a grandchild with whom the grandparent has previously enjoyed a close relationship. In order to accommodate grandparents in either situation, Texas law provides a method through which grandparents may be able to seek and obtain custody and visitation rights.
Grandparent rights are not always granted. Certain criteria must be met in order for a court to grant a request for grandparent custody or visitation. The primary factor is that the custody or visitation must be in the grandchild’s best interests. Additionally, the child’s parents must be divorced, incarcerated, have passed away or have been found incompetent, the child must have been subjected to abuse or neglect, the parent-child relationship was terminated by court order or the child has been living with the grandparent for six months or longer.
Grandparents may not seek visitation with a grandchild or custody of a grandchild that has been adopted by another person unless the adoptive person is the child’s stepparent. In order to seek custody and visitation rights if one of the other circumstances applies, the grandparents must file a petition with the court.
It can be important for a grandparent to seek custody of a child or visitation with the child in some situations. If the child’s home life is placing the child in danger or the child has already resided with the grandparent for longer than six months, such an order will allow the grandparent to then receive child support to help financially support the child as well as to make important decisions for the child in regards to medical care and educational needs. A family law attorney may be able to provide advice and counsel in these situations.
Source: Attorney General of Texas, “Grandparents’ Page”, December 16, 2014