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Your visitation rights as a grandparent

The bond between a grandparent and a grandchild is truly a special one. When parental issues get in the way of that relationship, it can be heartwrenching.

Thankfully, there is a possible option for recourse available. As a grandparent, you may have specific rights in regard to visitation.

Seeking rights

There are a few instances under which grandparents may seek visitation rights or longer visitation times. These instances include

  • The grandparent's biological child has rights over the child
  • The grandparent's child is not present due to death, incarceration, court order or mental illness
  • Denial of these rights will negatively affect the child's physical or emotional well-being

While these are the main reasons parties may cite while seeking rights, they are not the only options. Working with legal representation may be helpful in determining the best reasoning for filing in a particular situation.

Parental rights

While a party may have rights as a grandparent, that does not trump the rights of the child's parents, as established in the landmark case of Troxel v. Granville. During the case, the Supreme Court ruled that a parent's constitutional right to steer the upbringing of the child should not face imposition by grandparents' rights without proper cause. Therefore, those who choose to pursue grandparent rights through the court must make strong cases.

The child's interest

In cases involving children, the court will always work to reach determinations that are in the best interest of the children. Being able to show that a grandparent and a child have a strong bond is not enough for a positive ruling. In order to argue the strongest case possible, a grandparent must show that the addiitonal time together will be in the best interest of the child, and not increasing the time might be to the child's detriment.

Having a general understanding of grandparent rights in the state of Texas can be helpful in determining the best course of action. It may also benefit you to gain an understanding of the rights of a grandparent in full, in accordance with the state law. 

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