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Texas has visitation rights for grandparents

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Texas grants very limited visitation rights for grandparents after their adult child's divorce compared to other states. They must overcome the presumption that the best interest of the grandchildren is furthered when the grandparents are denied visits.

The state had a strict standard governing a grandparent's right to even seek visitation. Texas generally requires that grandparents gain visitation from a parent and not the court system. The grandparent must be the parent of a parent who is deceased, incarcerated or was found by a court to be unable to have actual or court-order possession or access to the child.

If they meet these standing requirements, they face the high hurdle of showing that denial of contact will harm the children and their physical health or emotional well-being will be impaired. Testimony of ordinary individuals who are familiar with the children may not be considered adequate by the court to meet this burden.

Expert opinions are usually needed to meet this difficult standard. However, presenting expert testimony may be difficult for grandparent parents who do not see their grandchildren or have access to their school or medical records. They may try to overcome this by asking for a preliminary hearing where they can request that a professional evaluate the children and gain access to records.

Grandparents cannot seek visitation if both parents are dead or if their parental rights were terminated. Additionally, grandparent visitation rights are not permitted if the child was adopted by a person who is not a stepparent. They cannot seek visitation if both parents gave up their parental rights to child protective services or another person or organization serving as a managing conservator.

An attorney can assist families dealing with custody and visitation issues with regards to the best interests of the child. They can also help present a grandparent's case to a judge regarding the issue of grandparent visitation rights.

Source: The Spruce, "Texas Grandparents' Rights," Susan Adcox, Accessed Nov. 13, 2017

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