Grandparents’ rights in Texas: Should they be expanded?
A newly proposed law is sparking controversy and much conversation in the Texas state capitol where lawmakers are discussing the role of grandparents’ rights. House Judiciary Committee members are debating a bill that would increase the number of people that may have a say in the way a child is being raised. If enacted, the legislation would be a victory for grandparents’ rights advocates.
Currently, grandparents are limited in the legal claims available to them. Those claims can only be made against a son-in-law or daughter-in-law. The proposed law would not only increase grandparents’ rights when applicable, it would allow grandparents to sue their own children. Aunts, uncles, and other family members would also have a right to sue for visitation rights also under certain circumstances.
Some concern has been expressed that the law would cause an increase in lawsuits involving grandparents’ rights. While there have been cases where grandparents have sued over things such as school or church attendance, some lawmakers are not concerned that this would mean much change in the state of Texas. Other lobbyists and supporters of this bill think that this would bring about positive change.
Supporters argue that increasing grandparents’ rights would act as a safety net for children. While not every circumstance can be specified, each case would still have to be decided by a judge based on its own merits and details. On a positive note, the proposal could add another layer of protection for children who live in a harmful situation.
If passed, a new grandparents’ rights law would only be applicable for those who are concerned that there are children that are being harmed. Specific evidence of that danger must be presented in court. The House Judiciary Committee is just beginning to debate the issues, and it remains to be seen if the proposals will be enacted into law.
Source: kutnews.org, “Grandparental Rights Bill Up for Committee Debate at Capitol,” Veronica Zaragovia, April 16, 2013