In Texas, a court may award a grandparent “reasonable possession of or access to” a child as long as at least one biological or adoptive parent’s parental rights have not been terminated. The grandparent must overcome a statutory presumption that a parent barring access is acting in the best interest of the child, which is the U.S. Supreme Ruling in the Troxel v. Granville case. In order to overcome this presumption, the grandparent must prove that denial would “significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.” Grandparent’s rights in Texas generally apply to the custody of a grandchild and visitation privileges. Grandparents may file a suit requesting custody if they believe it is in the child’s best interest.
The facts that support access by a grandparent or even custody usually include:
- Divorced parents
- Grandchildren that have been abused or neglected
- One parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent, or has died
- A court-order has terminated the parent-child relationship; or
- 1.The children have lived with the grandparents for at least six months.
Visitation statutes in Texas do not give a grandparent an absolute right to visitation. I have tried about 10 cases on this issue. I have represented both grandparents and parents. I can say that the grandparents have an uphill battle, but I have obtained visitation and custody for several grandparents, and also have represented parents for obtaining dismissal of the grandparents’ cases.