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When can a grandparent seek custody and visitation in Texas?

It can be a difficult situation when a family breaks apart and custody issues come to the forefront. Of greater complication is when a grandparent seeks have custody or visitation of a child. While grandparents are an integral part of a child's life, there are certain conditions that must be in place for this to be ordered under Texas law. Like most family law issues, this can be complex and it is useful to have legal assistance from an attorney when considering moving forward with a case.

A grandparent has the right to seek custody of a child if it is deemed to be in the best interests of the child. Visitation of a grandchild can be authorized in Texas if that too is in the child's best interest. This is determined by several circumstances that must be in place. They are: if the parents have divorced; if there was abuse or neglect of the child by the parents; if the parent has been incarcerated, was declared incompetent, or is dead; if there is a court-order that has terminated the relationship between parent and child; and if the child has lived with the parent for a minimum of six months.

A grandparent will not automatically be granted visitation rights. If the child was adopted by a person other than a stepparent, the grandparent is not allowed to seek visitation. Grandparents who have a grandchild residing with them have the right to try to get custody. If that is granted, there is the option to seek financial and medical support from a parent to care for the child as this is their responsibility.

For grandparents, the welfare of a grandchild is one of the most important family law issues they will deal with. When there is a dispute or some other matter related to a grandchild, having help from an attorney who is experienced in family law and grandparents' rights can help to pursue a case to receive visitation or custody.

Source: texasattorneygeneral.gov, "Grandparents' Page," accessed on April 4, 2017

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