Grandparents who find themselves cut off from a relationship with their grandchildren do have some legal options when it comes to visitation rights. While federal legislation can impact those rights, states typically determine them.
What Are the Conditions of Visitation Rights for Grandparents?
In the state of Texas, conditions that factor into a grandparent’s visitation rights include the death of the child’s parent(s), incompetence, incarceration, or the termination of parental rights. Parental divorce, abuse, neglect, or adjudication of the child as delinquent and in need of supervision can also come under consideration.
Additionally, courts consideration if the child lived with the grandparent for at least six months within 24 months of filing a petition for visitation. Finally, if a child has been adopted after both parents either pass away or terminate their parental rights, grandparents are not allowed to file a visitation petition.
The court’s primary focus in determining grandparent visitation will be on the best interest of the child. There are many factor courts use to determine what that means, including:
- The child’s physical and emotional health, safety, and welfare
- The ability of the grandparents to care for the child
- The wishes of the child, parents, and grandparents
- The length and strength of the relationship between the child and the grandparents
- Evidence of abuse, neglect, or substance abuse on the part of the parents or the grandparents
- The parent’s or grandparent’s ability to provide emotional support, affection, and interaction with the child
- The distance between the child and parents or grandparents
It’s important to note that Texas law strongly protects parents’ rights and that grandparents do not have absolute visitation rights to grandchildren.
While grandparents may not agree with how the parents are raising their grandchildren, that fact alone does not automatically warrant visitation rights. However, issues such as abuse and neglect of the children by the parents can impact visitation.
What If I Have Been Denied Visitation?
If you find yourself in the position of being denied access to your grandchildren and you desire to pursue visitation with them, here are some options to consider:
- Communication with the parent(s): Simply working on communicating and improving relations with the parent(s) of your grandchildren while attempting to resolve familial issues may help you avoid a lengthy and costly process through the courts.
- Mediation: Seek out the services of a mediator to work with both you and the grandchildren’s parents to improve relations.
- Legal counsel: Seek advice and counsel from a family law attorney to determine if you have a case and the next best steps you need to take to pursue visitation with your grandchildren.
Need Help? Call A Family Law Attorney Today
While every situation is different, it’s important to be as prepared as possible if you decide to seek visitation rights of your grandchildren through the courts. The Law Office of V. Wayne Ward understands this need to be involved in their lives. We want to help you navigate this process. Give us a call today at 817-789-4436817-789-4436.