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Do Grandparents Have a Right to Visitation?

Texas recognizes how important grandparents are in their grandchildren’s lives and gives you the right to ask for visitation in some circumstances. If you’re trying to see your grandchildren, contact a qualified Texas family law attorney to check the legal process.

When Grandparents Can Obtain Visitation

Grandparents don’t have a right to visitation in every situation. For example, if your grandchildren live in an intact family with both parents, you can only get visitation if the child’s parents agree to it. This might seem unfair to you but Texas recognizes a parent’s right to raise their child without interference, so you can’t ask a judge to “force” the parents to give you visitation.

However, if the parents have split up, then you can ask for visitation. A judge will need to analyze the situation and determine if visitation is in the child’s best interests and whether one of the following circumstances exist:

  • Your grandchild’s parents divorced
  • Your grandchild lived with you for six months or longer
  • The parent’s rights were terminated by the court
  • The parent is found mentally incompetent
  • The parent is incarcerated
  • The parent died
  • The parent neglected or abused your grandchild

Some of these circumstances are easier to demonstrate than others. For example, a divorce, death, or incarceration may be proven to exist by showing a court order. However, proving what is in the child’s best interests can be a more subjective matter and our attorneys can assist you.

The Legal Process

As soon as your grandchildren’s parents split, you should reach out to a Texas family law attorney. The process starts with filing a legal document in court called a “petition,” which explains to the judge why visitation is warranted. Your lawyer can file this petition for you.

If there is already an existing lawsuit involving your grandchildren, then you must ask the court to join it. For example, your grandchild’s parents might be divorcing, in which case you ask the judge to consider your request for visitation along with the divorce case.

Visiting Adopted Children

In many cases, a grandparent may want to gain access to a grandchild who was adopted. In this situation, a grandparent’s rights exist through the parents. For example, if a parent legally adopted a child, the adoptive grandparents would have the right to seek visitation with that child. On the other hand, if a parent put a child up for an adoption, that biological parent’s rights are terminated upon the adoption. Therefore, a biological grandparent’s rights would also be terminated and that grandparent would not have the right to seek visitation.

Call a Texas Family Law Attorney Today

If your grandchild’s parents are splitting up or another change in circumstances has occurred that may affect your rights, you should contact a Richmond, Texas, family law attorney as soon as possible. At the Vendt Law Firm, we help loving grandparents navigate the legal process so that they can maintain a healthy bond with their grandchildren.  Contact us online or by calling (832) 263-6770 for more information.