Many adults have confessed that being a parent is wonderful, but becoming a grandparent creates a unique relationship filled with happiness. It is a right of passage that many parents look forward to after their children grow up and have families. But when a child’s parents struggle to maintain a relationship or other situations get in the way, a grandparent’s time with grandchildren can significantly suffer.
Texas Laws on Grandparent Rights
The rights of a grandparent are considered in Texas under certain situations. An established relationship with the child should exist, or a circumstance with the child’s parent may allow grandparents to work through the legal process to establish visitation with a grandchild. We list the situations below that enable a court to establish visitation rights as a grandparent.
Ultimately, when grandparents and the child’s parents are no longer communicating, or the parents of the child feel the relationship with a grandparent is not healthy, parents have the ultimate right to decide who can have a relationship with their child. Working on relationships with the child’s parents and establishing healthy communication is one way to ensure your visitation with a grandchild.
Circumstances Allowing for Court-Enforced Visitation
When visitation is in the child’s best interest, a court can enforce visitation rights. The circumstances include:
- Divorce between the child’s parents
- Abuse or neglect of the child by the parent
- A ruling of incompetence, incarceration, or death of a parent has occurred
- The courts have ended the parent-child relationship
- A grandparent has housed a child for at least six months
It is vital to understand that visitation rights are not absolute rights to visitation. Visitation cannot be requested when a child has been adopted by someone other than a step-parent. A grandparent may wish to establish custody if a grandchild is in danger of abuse or neglect.
Conservatorship of a Grandchild
Establishing custody or conservatorship of a grandchild can be legally challenging. Even when the child’s parents cannot physically provide care because drug and alcohol use or other factors get in the way, parents may not give up their custody easily, especially when custody of a child leads to control. It is imperative to work with an Austin grandparents’ rights attorney to present compelling evidence to a court to prove that impairment standards have been met.
Establishing conservatorship allows a grandparent to provide for a child through ways such as accessing medical insurance, school enrollment, ensuring medical care, and applying for child support. Parents are legally required to provide this support.
Critical time limits apply to filing for conservatorship, and two conservatorship appointments exist. Waiting to pursue legal action can come at a price. Ultimately, evidentiary requirements for standing are up to the grandparent.
Pursuing Your Rights as a Grandparent in Texas
Bonds between grandparents and their grandchildren benefit both parties and can bring a lifetime of happiness. When familial relationships are strained or prevented, pursuing legal rights to a relationship may feel overwhelming. But it is worth it.
Evans Family Law Group is not only concerned about the grandparent-grandchild relationship, but we work to ensure the safest relationships for a child that provide stability and growth in a supportive environment. Call or email now and begin your free consultation to ensure your rights as a grandparent. You want the best for your grandchild, and our compassionate but driven team of family law attorneys is ready to serve families in Bastrop and Williamson Counties, Austin, Lakeway, and Round Rock.