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How can I get custody of my grandkids in Texas?

In many families, the grandparents hold a very unique and special role. However, in other families, rifts between a child's parents and grandparents can cause the grandparents to be left out of the child's life. In other cases, the grandparents may be raising their grandkids because of a parent's incarceration, being declared unfit as a parent or a parent's death.

In Texas, grandparents must petition the court for custody by filing a lawsuit. There are some requirements that must be met before such a lawsuit can be filed. These include:

-- The parents agree that the grandparents are whom the child should live with.

-- The grandparents can prove the child is suffering abuse or neglect at the hands of the parents.

-- The grandparent is already the child's guardian, per an order by the court.

-- The grandparents have had the child living with them for six months.

There are instances when another individual has already filed a lawsuit seeking custody of the child. In such cases, the grandparents will need to file "to intervene" in the case. The grandparents must prove to the court that their grandchild is being abused or neglected by the person who wants custody. The grandparents also must have had quite a bit of contact with their grandchild in the past.

Remember, the court will always consider what is in the best interests of the child when making a ruling. The court usually believes a child is better off when raised by his or her parents. In addition, the court understands that no parent is perfect. Therefore, a grandparent must prove to the court that the child is being harmed by the parent in order to stand a chance at getting custody. An attorney experienced in Texas family law can be a great resource for grandparents who want to seek custody of their grandchildren.

Source: TexasLawHelp.Org, "Grandparents' Rights" accessed Mar. 18, 2015

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