About Grandparents Rights in Texas. Grandparents play an important role in their grandchildren’s life, and can develop strong bonds that last a lifetime. Today, every state has some type of grandparent visitation law. Texas grandparents rights generally apply to the custody of a grandchild and visitation privileges. Grandparents may file suit requesting custody if they believe it is in the child’s best interest. Visitation statutes vary widely from state to state.
In Texas, a court can authorize grandparent visitation of a grandchild if visitation is in the child’s best interest, and one of the following circumstances exists:
- The parents divorced;
- The parent abused or neglected the child;
- The parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent, or died;
- A court-order terminated the parent-child relationship; or
- The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months.
Visitation statutes do not give a grandparent an absolute right to visitation. Also, a grandparent may not request visitation if the grandchild has been adopted by someone other than the child’s step-parent.
If your grandchild lives with you, you may wish to seek custody. As a custodial parent, you can apply for child support. Both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial and medical support for their children. If you have custody, they will be required to pay it to you. You can call our Child Support Division at (800) 252-8014.
In Texas, court may award a grandparent “reasonable possession of or access to” a grandchild as long as least one biological or adoptive parent still has parental rights. The grandparent must “overcome the presumption” that a parent barring access is acting in the best interest of the child, language which aligns the state with the Supreme Court case of Troxel v. Granville.
In order to overcome this presumption, the grandparent must prove that denial would “significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.”
In Texas, the grandparent requesting access to a grandchild must be the parent of a parent who is dead, incarcerated, has been found by a court to be incompetent or for other reason does not have “actual or court-ordered possession of or access to the child.”
A grandparent may not request access to a grandchild if both biological parents are dead or have had parental rights terminated. In addition, grandparents may not gain access if the grandchild has been adopted by other than a stepparent, or if both parents have executed affidavits designating another person or an agency as “managing conservator” of the child.