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Family law: Do grandparents have rights to their grandchildren?

When grandparents in Texas are denied access to their grandchildren, it can be a sad situation. Under family law, grandparents have no automatic rights related to custody or visitation of their grandchildren. However, certain circumstances may lead to a court granting a grandparent such rights.

Nationwide, the standard of the best interests of the child applies. Although a mother will usually be the preferred child custodian choice of the family court, and parents typically possess certain rights to custody of their children, exceptions exist. If a child's parents are married, the court is not likely to consider giving custody or visitation rights to grandparents. If not, and the court finds the custodial parent unfit to be a child's primary caretaker, the grandparents could seek child custody.

If the court awards child custody to grandparents, it will be subject to a particular period. For a parent who loses custody because he or she is found unable to provide proper care, the goal will be to reunite the parent and the child at a time in the future. That time will be when the court re-evaluates the situation and finds the parent fit to take responsibility for child care again. When it comes to visitation rights, certain circumstances, such as when parents are divorced or one of them has died, may warrant the court to grant the grandparents visitation rights.

Once again, the court's decision will be based on the child's best interests. Grandparents' rights to child custody and visitation is a complicated part of family law because each case is unique. Grandparents in Texas who fear for the welfare or safety of their grandchildren can consult with an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can evaluate the circumstances surrounding their concerns and explain the options. He or she can then advocate for the grandparents if and when necessary.

Source: livestrong.com, "Child Custody Laws: Grandparent Vs. Mother", Mike Broemmel, Accessed on Feb. 17, 2017

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