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Grandparent rights to a child in Texas

In Texas, a child's grandparent may petition for legal custody or visitation rights if it is in the best interest of the child. In addition, the courts must find that the child is being abused by a parent or that the child's legal parents are getting divorced. A petition may also be granted if the child's parent has been incarcerated or died or if the child has lived with the grandparent for more than six months.

There are situations when a grandparent may not be able to obtain visitation to a grandchild. For instance, if the child has been adopted by anyone other than a step-parent, the grandparent is not allowed to ask for visitation rights. In the event that a child lives with the grandparent, it may be more appropriate to ask for full custody as opposed to just visitation rights.

If a grandparent is granted the status of custodial parent, it may be possible for the grandparent to ask for child support. Under Texas law, both of the child's legal parents are responsible for raising their child even if they don't have custody of the child. Grandparents who are considering asking for custody of a child may wish to contact one of the many sources of legal information provided by the state.

A grandparent who wishes to gain visitation or custody rights to a child may wish to consult a family law attorney who may be able to help establish that granting such rights is in the best interest of the child. This may be done by showing that there is a strong bond between the grandparent and grandchild and that the legal parent or parents are abusive or otherwise unable to provide for the child.

Source: Attorney General of Texas, "Grandparents' Page", December 16, 2014

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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