Can I Get Custody or Visitation Rights as a Grandparent?
Many grandparents play an important role in a child’s life. Grandparents and grandchildren often share a special bond that is distinct from the child-parent bond. Unfortunately, grandparents’ rights are limited when it comes to gaining custody or visitation time with their grandchildren.
Your Rights as a Grandparent
Though grandparents’ rights are limited, a grandparent can still request access to their grandchild. Whether you are seeking visitation rights or custody, the process involves petitioning the court and seeking a judge’s approval.
Grandparents do not inherently have any absolute right to spend time with their grandchildren. Ultimately, it is the parents’ decision as to whether the grandparent will be able to visit the child. That said, grandparents may seek court-ordered visitation or access to the child if the parents are shutting them out.
In Texas, a grandparent can be granted visitation rights if it is in the child’s best interest and if one of the following circumstances applies:
- The child’s parents are divorced
- One or both parents have a history of domestic violence or child neglect
- One or both parents have been incarcerated or found unfit to parent
- One or both parents have passed away
- A parent’s parental rights have been terminated
- The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months
One exception is if the child has been adopted by someone other than their stepparent. In this situation, the grandparents have no right to request visitation.
In some situations, grandparents seek outright custody of their grandchild, often because they believe the parent or parents are unfit or they suspect violence or abuse. Quite often, grandparents seeking custody already care for the child; the child may even live with them already. Still, grandparents will have to obtain legal custody to allow them to make certain decisions, take the child to the doctor, enroll the child in school, etc.
Custody may be granted to a grandparent if the parent or parents:
- Cannot provide a safe home for the child that promotes their physical and emotional welfare
- Are unfit to parent the child because of a substance abuse issue, drug addiction, incarceration, or related issue
- Consent to the change in custody
Retain Legal Representation When Seeking Custody or Visitation
If you need help establishing visitation rights or obtaining custody as a grandparent, turn to Labovitz Law Firm. Our child custody lawyers are here to help you navigate the process you face. We fight tirelessly for our clients who want to protect and maintain a connection with their grandchildren.
Contact us at (817) 374-4056 to request an initial consultation with our family legal team.