In matters involving custody and visitation disputes in the event of
divorce proceedings, grandparents have been granted the right to petition the court for visitation or custody of their grandchild or grandchildren. In many cases the desire for grandparents to remain a part of their grandchild's life has been deemed beneficial to the grandchild in the eyes of the court.
Information on Grandparents' Rights
As a grandparent, you have a statutory right to request visitation or custody of your grandchildren after it has been established that the parents have been living separately for 3 months or when the parents' divorce suit is filed. In addition to circumstances of divorce a grandparent may request custody of their grandchildren for a number of circumstances including:
- Death of the grandchild's parent or parents
- Incarceration of the grandchild's parent
- Determination of grandchild's parent being unfit
- Parental rights of grandchild's parent terminated
- Grandchild has been deemed delinquent by the court and in need of supervision
If you are a grandparent wishing to assert your right to maintain reasonable access to your grandchild or obtain custody of your grandchild you will need the skilled legal guidance of a family law attorney. In order to succeed in your case, you must be able to prove that denial would "significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional well-being" as was established in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Toxel v. Granville in 2000.
Reasons for Denial of Grandparents' Rights
Texas courts will not grant a grandparent rights to a grandchild if both biological parents are dead or have had other parental rights terminated. Grandparents are also not allowed to gain access if the grandchild has been adopted by someone other than a stepparent. More about grandparents' rights can be found in Texas Statutes 153.432-434.