Galveston County Grandparents’ Rights Lawyers
While parental rights and duties are clearly defined by Texas statute, the rights of grandparents remain unclear. As a result, grandparents do not have the legal right to spend time with their grandchildren, although in some cases, courts are willing to hear a grandparent’s petition for visitation. These cases are fraught with difficulty, so if you are interested in obtaining court-ordered visitation rights with your grandchild, it is important to seek the advice of one of the experienced Galveston County Grandparents’ rights lawyers at the law firm of Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. who can help you formulate a convincing argument.
To petition the court for access to a grandchild, the child’s biological or adoptive grandparent must file either an original lawsuit or a lawsuit seeking modification of an existing custody agreement. Most judges will only grant visitation in cases where a child’s access to a grandparent is in his or her best interest. However, courts are also constrained by additional conditions, which must be met before visitation rights can be established, including that:
- At least one of the child’s biological or adoptive parents has not had his or her parental rights terminated;
- The grandparent proves by a preponderance of the evidence that denying access would impair his or her grandchild’s physical or emotional well-being; and
- The petitioning grandparent is a parent of the child’s parent and that parent has been incarcerated for the last three months, has been declared mentally incompetent by a court, is deceased, or does not have actual or court-ordered access to the child.
During the hearing, judges may also consider a series of factors, including whether:
- The child’s parents have obtained a divorce;
- The child has been the victim of abuse or neglect at the hands of a parent; and
- The child has lived with his or her grandparent for at least six months.
There are additional limits to when a grandparent can petition the court for access to a grandchild. For example, even when a grandparent meets all of the requirements, he or she will not be granted access to the child if the child was adopted by someone other than a stepparent. A grandparent is also not permitted to request visitation if both of the child’s parents:
- Are deceased;
- Had their parental rights terminated; or
- Executed an affidavit relinquishing parental rights and designated the Department of Family and Protective Services, a licensed adoption agency, or a person other than the child’s stepparent as the child’s managing conservator.
Contact a Dedicated Galveston County Grandparents’ Rights Lawyer Today
The issue of grandparent visitation often arises in families where at least some of the members have dysfunctional relationships. The advice of a lawyer can be especially valuable in these emotional situations as what is best for the child can be overshadowed by competing interests and family conflict. If you are seeking formal visitation with a grandchild, please call 281-486-6116 to speak to one of our experienced grandparents’ rights lawyers at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C.