The joy for many parents after their children reach adulthood is the anticipation of grandchildren to spoil in the future. The bond between grandchildren and grandparents is a special one that is vastly different from the parental relationship with the child. In complicated situations, the issue of grandparents’ rights comes to the forefront of heated custody battles. If you are in danger of losing the right to visit with your grandchildren, contact an experienced family law attorney before it is too late.
The issue of grandparents’ rights becomes an issue in circumstances where one or both parents have had their rights terminated, in situations involving heated child custody disputes, or in situations where one or both parents tragically passed away. In such situations, grandparents may intervene and receive access or possession of grandchildren.
The state of Texas has a compelling interest in providing a forum for grandparents to have a significant relationship with their grandchildren. A court must order reasonable possession or access to the grandchildren by a grandparent if the following factors exist:
- At the time the relief is requested, at least one biological or adoptive parent of the child has not had the parental rights terminated;
- Grandparents requesting the possession overcome presumption that the parent acts in the best interests of the child or provides evidence indicating that the parent is not fit or could endanger the child’s physical health or emotional well-being; and
- The grandparent requesting possession is a parent of the child’s parent who is in jail or prison; incompetent; dead; or does not have possession or access to the child.
The grandparents must be able to prove the above 3 factors in order to gain possession or visitation of the child. The parental decision of an existing parent will often be given great deference by the court. For example, if a living parent who holds all parental rights wants to dictate the terms of a grandparent’s visit with their grandchildren, a court will allow this if the grandparent cannot provide evidence of all 3 factors above.
One of the main hurdles for grandparents to overcome is the presumption that a parent acts in the best interests of the child. A grandparent must be able to show that the parent is not fit or that the denial of access by the grandparent would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.
Visitation and access to grandchildren may also become an issue in situations where both parents of the child were killed and the child has been adopted by new parents. A court will carefully consider all the facts of the case in rendering a decision for access or visitation.
Malley Law Firm | Houston Family Law Attorney
If you are involved in a dispute concerning the rights to visit or have access to your grandchildren, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of the Malley Law Firm. Your grandchildren are the light in your life and offer you a chance to enjoy your retirement or life in your later age. The denial of visitation to your grandchildren or the requirement for small visits with all conditions pre-set is devastating to any grandparent. Our attorneys will work closely with you in contesting your rights as a grandparent to ensure you continue to receive access to your grandchildren. Contact our Houston or Beaumont offices today for your initial free consultation.