Grandparent Visitation Rights in Texas

Grandmother holding her granddaughter

Grandparents play an important role in many families and may even share responsibility in raising their grandchildren. But what happens when the grandchild’s parents either divorce or put the children in harm’s way? Can grandparents request court-ordered visitation to maintain a relationship with their grandkids or full custody to protect the grandchildren?

In general, in Texas, grandparents do not have the right to sue their child for custody of grandchildren if the grandparent disagrees with the child’s parenting. A court cannot award a grandparent visitation rights over the objection of the parents unless the grandparent can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that denial of possession of or access to the child would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. Goolsbee v. Heft, 549 S.W.2d 34. This is because unlike parents, grandparents do not have a right to visitation of grandchildren. Stone v. Short, 1991 Tex. App. LEXIS 337. In fact, Texas case law confirms that no such right existed at common law; the right, if any, is statutory. In the Interest of I.M.S., 2008 Tex. App. LEXIS 8926.

There are some reasons why a Texas judge may find that it is in the child’s best interest to allow a grandparent to have court-ordered time with the child.

In Texas, when can a grandparent get visitation rights to grandchildren?

In Texas, a grandparent can be granted reasonable possession of or access to a grandchild under certain conditions as per Tex. Fam. Code § 153.433.

Firstly, the grandparent’s child that is the biological or adoptive parent of the grandchild must not have had their parental rights terminated.

Secondly, the grandparent must overcome the presumption that a parent acts in the best interest of the parent’s child by proving that denial of possession of or access to the child would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. However, it's important to note that the "fit parent presumption" is deeply embedded in Texas law as part of the determination of a child's best interest. This means that a parent's decision regarding grandparent access is given deference unless it can be proven that denial of access would significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional well-being. In the Int. of E.R.D., 671 S.W.3d 682.

Lastly, the grandparent must be a parent of a parent of the child and that parent of the child must meet one of the following conditions: has been incarcerated in jail or prison during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition; has been found by a court to be incompetent; is dead; or does not have actual or court-ordered possession of or access to the child.

Schedule a consultation today to see if your facts would warrant you filing a suit for access to your grandchildren.

If you are interested in obtaining grandparent visitation rights in McKinney, contact Camille Borg Law PLLC today at (469) 646-7763 to let our firm provide effective and personalized legal solutions immediately! 

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