In Texas, grandparents may have the right to possession and access to the child, or even the right to physical custody (managing conservatorship), which entails primary residence and/or ability to make decisions regarding the child’s life. This will depend on the circumstances and what the court believes is in the child’s best interests.
Grandparents’ Right to Managing Conservatorship
The court places a high presumption that the parents have the right to managing conservatorship. Thus, grandparents must establish their rights to conservatorship and that continuing to live with the parents is not in the child’s best interests.
They must prove living with the parents may cause harm to the child or the parents voluntarily sent the child to live with someone else for one year. This one year requirement must have been met within the 90 days previous to the suit.
The courts look at the child’s needs, the dangers of living in the parents’ house, how good the parents or grandparents are at raising the child, the stability of each home, the parents’ criminal records and other relevant factors in deciding which party is best suited and has right to managing conservatorship. In any case, the grandparents may need to present strong proof of harm to the child in order to win their case.
Further, grandparents may also be appointed as managing conservators if the parents are diseased. Speak with an attorney for a more detailed discussion of rights to custody based on the specifics of your case.
Grandparents’ Rights to Grandchild Visitation
Grandparents may pursue visitation rights with the grandchild but again must meet certain requirements. This includes that visitation would be in the child’s best interests. Additionally, grandparents must prove the existence of other factors, which we outlined in a previous blog post regarding grandparents’ visitation rights.
Keep in mind that grandparents are not automatically entitled to visitation rights just because state law provides avenues through which they may obtain it. Further, the grandparent may not be able to get visitation if another person who is not the child’s parent or step-parent adopted the child.
What evidence can be used to prove a grandparent’s custody case?
The court may take a child’s opinion into consideration if the child is over the age of 12. However, if there is compelling evidence one way or the other, the child’s preference may not play a role in the decision.
To prove that a child is endangered or that s/he has been in the past, use:
- police records;
- hospital records; and
- child services records.
Lawyers can help grandparents gather and evaluate the facts of the case and determine the best theory as to why they should have custody or visitation rights to the child. Your attorney will also present the case to the judge and advise you regarding how to deal with the case.
Warren & Migliaccio is committed to helping grandparents in Plano exercise their custody rights by obtaining custody of the child or visitation with the child. Contact our office at 888-584-9614 or contact us online to set up a consultation to review your case.