If you are a grandparent you may have limited rights in regard to your grandchildren. However, you may obtain legal visitation rights if you can show that denial of access to the grandchildren will significantly harm the grandchild’s physical or emotional health. Grandparents or other family members who believe your minor child’s parent or parents are unfit to care for the minor grandchild you should contact an experienced family law attorney, our Family Law attorneys have successfully tried these cases in Collin, Denton, and Dallas counties and we can help you determine what action may be available to you.
The law in Texas provides the following regarding the rights of extended family members:
- A court may consider a grandparent, aunt or uncle as the person to assume the role of primary caregiver (“managing conservator”) of a child, if both parents of the child are deceased.
- A nonparent, including a grandparent, may be appointed as a sole or joint managing conservator of a child in certain circumstances – for example, where the parent(s) are still living, but deemed unfit to raise the child. The court will consider if the current circumstances significantly impair or threaten the child’s physical or mental health.
A grandparent may seek access to or possession of a child:
- by filing suit,
- by seeking modification to an existing order,
- by demonstrating that denial of access would significantly impair the child’s physical or emotional health.
A court will consider the grandchild’s current home situation and the capacity of the parents to care for the grandchild’s well-being, among other concerns. These cases are more difficult than the standard “best interest of the child” determination the court generally uses to make child custody and visitation decisions. Texas has additional protections for parents that must be overcome in each case of grandparent access and grandparent rights. Contact our office to arrange a consultation to discuss your situation with one of our attorneys.