Several states, including Texas, have enacted laws the dictate when and how grandparents are able to establish visitation rights with their grandchildren.
October 29, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Do grandparents have visitation rights in Texas?
Article provided by The Law Office of Phillip W. Morris
Visit us at http://www.phillipmorrislaw.com
In a perfect world, loving and caring grandparents would enjoy unlimited access to their precious grandchildren - however, this world is far from perfect. Sadly, many grandparents find themselves struggling to gain any access or visitation rights to their grandchildren due to a variety of reasons, including family squabbles and divorce.
Because of grandparent concerns, several states, including Texas, have enacted laws the dictate when and how grandparents are able to establish visitation rights with their grandchildren. In Texas, these laws are particularly applicable in circumstances in which the failure to grant such grandparent visitation rights would harm the well-being of the grandchildren.
Texas law regarding grandparents' rights to access and visitation
As with any child custody of visitation dispute in Texas, the best interests of the child are closely examined. However, Texas law expressly recognizes a "parental presumption" that requires courts to assume that a fit parent acts in his or her child's best interests. Therefore, grandparents typically cannot intervene and seek access rights when a grandchild is well cared for and both parents object to the visitation.
Even so, if a significant event were to fracture the established family unit - such as one parent's death or incarceration - a grandparent could attempt to seek visitation rights with his or her grandchild. Specifically, Texas law states that an adoptive or biological grandparent can request access to a grandchild if he or she is able to show the court that the denial of "access to the child by the [grandparent] would significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional well-being."
Consequently, a Texas court may order "reasonable" access to a grandchild if a grandparent is able to prove that the denial of such access would impair the child's well-being - thus overcoming Texas' "parental presumption." However, the grandparent seeking access to a grandchild must also be able to show any of the following elements in regards to the child's parent (specifically, the parent who is themselves the child of the grandparents seeking access):
-The child's parent has been in prison or jail for the prior three months.
-The child's parent has been found to be incompetent by a court.
-The child's parent does not have court-ordered or actual possession or access to the child.
-The child's parent is dead.
As this article demonstrates, the laws surrounding grandparent visitation rights are quite complicated in Texas, and as such, this article should not be taken as legal advice. Nevertheless, given the complexity of grandparent visitation laws, not to mention the high legal burden, if you are a grandparent currently seeking access to a grandchild it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can review the facts of your case and help outline your rights and options given your particular circumstances.
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