Oftentimes a grandparent believes that he or she needs to get involved in the life of a grandchild, even over the objections of the biological parent or parents. Here is a brief “starting point” for that involvement. It is not easy!
A grandparent may be seeking to be named as a managing conservator. Or, under certain circumstances a grandparent is merely seeking access to or possession of a grandchild. The Texas Family Code addresses both of these circumstances. However, in either instance the grandparent must be prepared to show, under oath, in an affidavit attached to the petition seeking access to or possession or even managing conservatorship, that denial of the benefit being sought would expose the child to a significant impairment of the grandchild’s physical health or emotion well-being. This affidavit must contain facts, not mere opinions. Keep in mind that the judge is the one who decides this issue on the strength of the facts contained in the affidavit. It is a case-by-case matter.
The facts must satisfy the judge that a parent in custody of the child is unfit! This is based upon a 2000, US Supreme Court opinion entitled Troxel v. Granville, 530 US. 57 (2000).
A grandparent seeking conservatorship and not merely access, has the burden of overcoming the parental presumption. The most common grandparent suit for managing conservatorship involves a grandparent who has had exclusive care, possession and control of a grandparent. There is a minimum time period needed to grant standing for someone other than a parent. We will need to look at this time period of possession in each case to make sure we meet the statutory time period required in these cases. These cases arise where parents have passively allowed for a grandparent to take over the parental roles of the “unfit” parent. This suit gives the grandparent what is called standing to bring the suit. The pleading requirements for this action are different from those involving mere access to or possession.
Our law firm has handled several cases involving grandparents. We have initiated suits in which a grandparent is seeking managing conservatorship and in which a grandparent is seeking access to or possession of a grandchild.
The first consultation we have with grandparents is a very critical step in determining whether a grandparent has the standing and or facts sufficient to support a course of action. We have done several family law cases here in El Paso involving grandparent rights. If you have any questions about grandparent rights then please call us for an appointment. Call us at 915-593-6600 or 915-256-0579.
Divorce cases in El Paso oftentimes involve grandparent interventions. If you are a grandparent a think you need to “get involved” in the life of a grandchild, contact us before you take any action that could impair your later ability to seek the relief you believe is in the best interest of your grandchild.