Parental rights are the rights parents have to make legal decisions on their children’s behalves, the right to seek custody of their children, and the right to maintain a consistent relationship with their children. Under certain circumstances, grandparents have similar rights.
Grandparents’ rights include the right to seek custody and visitation with a child. However, there are limits to these rights. Parental rights supersede grandparents’ rights. Grandparents can assert their rights to their grandchildren on in certain scenarios, and when doing so, they are required to show that having custody or visitation with a grandchild is in the child’s best interest.
When Do Grandparents in Texas have Rights to their Grandchildren?
A grandparent may seek visitation with a grandchild or be awarded custody of the child if the child’s parent, the grandparent’s child, is:
- Deemed incapable of caring for the child due to substance addiction or mental illness;
- Guilty of abusing the child; or
- If his or her parental rights have been terminated for any other reason.
When a grandchild lives with his or her grandparent for six months or longer, the grandparent may seek child support from the child’s other legal parent.
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Asserting your Rights as a Grandparent
When a grandparent seeks visitation or custodial time with a grandchild, he or she must demonstrate to the court that not granting the court-ordered time together would cause the child to suffer harm. This requires evidence, which can include:
- Commentary from a mental health professional who has worked with the child and evaluated his or her relationship with the grandparent;
- Testimonies from other adults in the child’s life, like his or her teacher or pediatrician;
- Copies of the child’s medical or academic records that demonstrate the child’s needs and the grandparent’s ability to provide for them by continuing to maintain a close relationship with the child; and
- Any other documents that show how severing the relationship between the grandparent and the child can or has caused the child to suffer mental or physical trauma.
A grandparent can only seek a court order relating to his or her grandchild if he or she is the parent of the child’s parent who does not have legal rights to the child. In other words, if both of a child’s parents have legal rights to him or her, they are the ones who manage and maintain the child’s relationship with his or her grandparents. When a grandparent has no relationship with his or her grandchild because of the child’s parents’ choices, the grandparent has no right to seek court-ordered visitation or custody.
Work with an Experienced Webster Grandparents Rights Lawyer
As a Texas grandparent, you have certain rights to your grandchildren. Work with an experienced family lawyer to help yourself understand and exercise these rights when necessary. Contact our team at Scott M. Brown & Associates today to set up your initial consultation in our office, during which we can examine your case and advise you on your best course of action.