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Understanding grandparents' rights in Texas

In many families, grandparents are an integral part of the family dynamic. Not only do the grandchildren benefit from the love and direction of the grandparents, the grandparents benefit from the love of their grandchildren. Not all families, however, have a good relationship between the grandparents and their children. The parents of any grandchildren may determine that they do not want their children to have a relationship with their grandparents. As a result, the grandparents may need to file an action in court in order to receive visitation or even custody of their grandchildren.

Texas family courts have strict laws regarding grandparents' rights. Here are some of the requirements that must be met in order for a court to order reasonable access to or possession of a grandchild by a grandparent:

-- At the time the grandparent files for access to or possession of the grandchild, at least one of the child's biological parents or adoptive parents still has his or her parental rights;

-- The grandparent must prove that denying access to or possession of the child would impair the child's emotional well-being or physical health; and

-- The person wanting access to or possession of the child is the child's grandparent;

-- The parent of the child is incarcerated for more than three months directly before the petition was filed, has been declared incompetent by a court, does not have court-ordered or actual access to or possession of the child or is deceased.

As you can see, the laws governing grandparents' rights in Texas are complicated. Grandparents who are seeking visitation, access, possession or custody of their grandchildren can benefit from the experience and advice of a Texas family law attorney.

Source: Laura Dale & Associates, P.C., "Grandparents' Rights," accessed May. 13, 2015

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