Sometimes the person best equipped to care for child is not their own parents,
but their grandparents. Under federal law, grandparents do not have any
legal right to see or visit their grandchildren since the court assumes
that parents will act in the best interests of their children. While gaining
custody of grandchildren in Texas can be extremely difficult, grandparents
can petition the court for visitation rights to a beloved grandchild.
Visitation refers to the continuing contact or visiting of a child. With
parent's permission, grandparents are able to see their grandchildren
at any time. When parents begin limiting this time with grandchildren,
grandparents have little options available besides petitioning the court
for the right to access their grandchild.
How can I get visitation of my grandchild?
In many cases, the court will only agree to hear cases in limited circumstances,
such as when one of the parents of the child is incarcerated, deceased,
not living with the child, or found to be mentally incarcerated. Once
any of these have been established, the court will hear their case for custody.
The court will general order custody if it can be shown that visiting with
the grandparent is in the child's best interests and:
- The parents of the child are divorced;
- One parent has been incarcerated, found otherwise incompetent, or passed away;
- A parent has abused or neglected the child;
- The child has lived with the grandparent for over six months; or
- The relationship between the child and one of the parents has been legally
terminated by the court.
If the child has been adopted by another family, biological grandparents
do not have any right to petition the court for visitation. They are also
unable to seek visitation of the child if both parents have had their
parental rights terminated or if they have passed away. In these instances,
someone else will be designated as a managing conservator of the child.