Divorces are often complex and emotionally draining, especially when there are children involved. Although child visitation issues are common between the divorcing parents, few people think about grandparents and their potential rights to visitation. In cases where a grandparent is being cut off from their grandchild, regardless of a positive relationship with them, the grandparent may want to explore their legal rights. Here’s what you need to know about grandparents and visitation.
Do Grandparents Have a Right to Visitation?
Unfortunately, Texas law does not provide grandparents with an “absolute right to visitation.” This means that if a parent denies a grandparent access to a child, the courts won’t be able to step in. In situations where a child has been adopted by an individual who is not a stepparent, the child’s grandparents do not have a legal right to request visitation. These limitations can be frustrating for grandparents, particularly in cases where parents are denying grandparents visitation with a child.
There May Be a Few Exceptions
Although Texas law is lacking when it comes to support for grandparents’ visitation rights, there are times when a judge will make an exception. For example, a judge may grant a grandparent the right to visitation with the child in cases where one ore more of the following apply:
- The child’s parents have been shown to be neglectful or abusive towards the child
- The child’s parents were arrested and sentenced to jail
- The child’s parents have been found to be legally incompetent
- The child’s parents have divorced
- The child’s parents have passed away
In addition to the above stipulations, the court also will take into account whether court ordered visitation with the grandparents is in the best interests of the child.
Becoming a Custodial Parent
In some situations, it may be appropriate for the grandparent of a child to seek custody. Generally speaking, a grandparent may be able to petition a court for primary custody of the child if the child has been living with the grandparents for six months or more. In some cases, the grandparent also may seek out the termination of parental rights.
Contact the Bourlon Law Firm Today
If you are a grandparent interested in learning more about your rights to visitation, or you are involved in a dispute with your grandchild’s parents or the courts regarding visitation, the Bourlon Law Firm can help. We are a team of experienced child custody attorneys who are able to provide you with the compassionate, comprehensive legal representation you need.
Contact the Bourlon Law Firm today for a consultation to discuss your case by calling (361) 289-6040.