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Does Texas recognize grandparents' rights?

Today's grandparents often take an active role even in the best of family situations, providing childcare in some cases and temporary housing in others. This is usually a very positive experience for all involved, and it can come as quite a shock when these types of visits and involvement come to an end when a couple divorces. Grandparents may be left feeling powerless and at the mercy of the often-antagonistic relationship of the divorced couple.

In many cases, the courts will assume that grandparents will be able to see their grandchildren when that parent exercises his or her parenting time; however, this does not always work in practice. A noncustodial parent may feel like he or she doesn't get enough time with the children and may not want to share it with the grandparents. It's also common for relationships with in-laws to dissolve after the divorce is final, leaving grandparents with seemingly few options to try to get regular visits with the grandchildren.

However, according to the Texas Family Code, grandparents do have legal standing in the state as far as being able to petition the courts for visitation rights. This means that if the court finds that regular visits with the grandparents are in the children's best interests, grandparents may be able to get court-ordered visitation time without having to go through the parents.

It's important to understand, though, that a court order for grandparent visitation can be difficult to obtain. This is especially true if both of the child's parents are against the grandparent getting court-ordered visitation. To understand more about your options and chances of getting visitation rights, talking with a family law attorney is the first step.

Source: FindLaw, "Texas Child Custody Laws," accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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