While there’s no federal grandparent visitation law, states across the country recognize grandparents’ rights, and Texas is one of them. Grandparent visitation rights are well established under Texas law; but the state strongly defers to parents on what decisions are in the best interest of their child. Under Texas law, grandparents have no direct custody rights; but, there are situations in which custody can be permitted. There are specific situations where a Texas family court may authorize conservatorship (custody), possession, or access (visitation) for grandparents. If you are a grandparent seeking custody or visitation with your grandchild or grandchildren, it is important to speak with an Austin grandparents’ rights lawyer.
Grandparent Visitation in Texas
A grandparent can petition the court to establish visitation rights with a grandchild or modify an existing visitation order. In order for a judge to award grandparent visitation privileges, the grandparent must prove visitation is in the child’s best interest. The Texas Family Code, Section 153.431, provides the framework under which grandparents can seek visitation under Texas law.
Specifically, Texas allows grandparent visitation (also called access) when at least one biological or adoptive parent still has parental rights over the child, the grandparent seeking visitation shows that a denial would harm the child’s physical health or emotional well- being, and the grandparent seeking visitation is the parent of the child’s parent, and the child’s parent:
- has been incarcerated in jail for at least three months
- has been declared mentally incompetent by a court
- has died, or
- does not have actual or court-ordered visitation with the child
Grandparent Custody in Texas
Additionally, a grandparent may wish to file suit for custody of a grandchild on the grounds of the custodial parent or parents being unfit. A skilled attorney will be an essential part of successfully arguing for custody or visitation in any scenario. We work with grandparents to secure custody in situations where neither parent is competent to take care of minor children, or if the court determines that granting custody to grandparents is in the best interests of the minor children.
Conservatorship is the legal term for custody in Texas. This refers to a person’s right to make important decisions about a child’s care and wellbeing. While a child’s biological parents are typically given priority when it comes to conservatorship, there are instances where a grandparent or grandparents may apply for conservatorship instead. A grandparent may file suit requesting custody if the child’s parents have passed away, are incarcerated, or are unable to properly care for the child. If a grandparent is awarded custody, they can often pursue an order of child support from the child’s parent or parents.
Austin Grandparents Rights Lawyers
At The Law Office of Ilana R. Tanner, we’ve aggressively and effectively advocated for grandparents in family law matters for more than 10 years. Our attorneys understand how important the grandparent relationship is for grandchildren, and we work to preserve the family for these children by protecting this facet of family life.