Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights in Texas?

There are several circumstances when grandparents may seek visitation or custody of their grandchildren. Often when parents of minor children divorce, the grandparents suffer the aftermath and may find themselves unwillingly estranged from their grandchildren. In this situation, the grandparents may seek visitation rights. In other circumstances, such as cases of abusive or negligent parents, grandparents may petition for custody of their grandchildren.

Texas Law

In Texas, there is a presumption that parents should act in the best interest of their children. There are circumstances when concerned grandparents can prove by a preponderance of evidence that the parents are not acting in the child's best interest. Examples include child endangerment, drug abuse by the parent, or physical abuse. “Preponderance of the evidence” roughly means that the evidence is convincing and accurate.

According to Texas state code section 153.433, the following conditions must be met in order for grandparents to be awarded access to or custody of their grandchildren:

1. At least one biological or adoptive parent has NOT had the grandparents’ rights terminated by the time the grandparent's petition for visitation or custody.

2 The court has determined by a preponderance of the evidence that the parents are not acting in the best interest of the grandchildren and that denying the grandparents visitation or custody of the children would impair the grandchildren’s physical or emotional well-being.

3. The grandparents must be the legal parent of one of the parents to the children, and the parent must be incarcerated during the three-month period preceding the grandparents’ filing for custody; found incompetent by the court; deceased, or otherwise without actual or court-ordered custody of the children.

There are limitations even on these criteria. For example, if one set of grandparents has petitioned for adoption AND that petition has been granted, then the other set of grandparents may not have to stand in court to petition for custody of their grandchildren.

Contact a Family Law Attorney Today

At Parchman Law Group, we know that a child custody case for grandparents is a trying and painful ordeal. However, we can help you navigate these issues and protect your rights as concerned grandparents.

If you need help with a child custody issue, don’t hesitate to call us today at (713) 364-0777.

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