Few relationships are as precious as the one between a grandparent and their grandchild. Often times, grandparents are very involved in the lives of their grandchildren. Whether it’s attending school functions, sporting events, or even handling day-to-day child raising, grandparents can play an integral part of a child’s life.
However, the grandparent-grandchild relationship can be restricted or eliminated because of divorce, separation, or the death of one of the child’s parents. Additionally, a parent might refuse a grandparent access to a child due to a strained relationship between that parent and the grandparent. No matter the reason behind it, when a grandparent is unable to spend time with their grandchild, that grandparent is often left feeling helpless.
In Texas, a grandparent’s right to visit their grandchild is not automatically granted to the grandparent. As a result of recent court decisions and changes to the Texas Family Code, the court’s power to allow grandparent visitation is limited. In most cases, the child’s parents are the ones who get to decide whether their child spends time with a grandparent. If one or both parents refuse to allow the visitation, this is often enough to justify denial of the grandparent’s request.
However, all hope is not lost for grandparents seeking access of their grandchildren. A grandparent may be awarded visitation, in certain circumstances, based on their relationship with their grandchild and their involvement in their grandchild’s life. The grandparent will need to show the court that they have a significant relationship with their grandchild, and that formal recognition of the right to visitation would be in the child’s best interest.
In addition, granting custody to a grandparent is often the best situation for the child if that child’s parent(s) cannot provide a safe, stable home environment. Often times, grandparents are the ones raising their grandchildren due to abuse, neglect and/or abandonment by the child’s parent(s). In order to prevent an unfit parent from taking the child back, and thus exposing to child to a dangerous situation, the grandparent should seek a court order that gives the grandparent the right to possession of the child. In cases where a grandparent is seeking custody of the child, it is vital to demonstrate the grandparent’s fitness and commitment to the well-being of their grandchildren, while simultaneously demonstrating that the child’s parent(s) cannot adequately provide for that child’s needs.
Contact us today for more information about potentially establishing your rights to a grandchild or how to respond to a grandparent’s attempt to establish rights to your child.