Many grandparents play significant roles in the lives of their grandchildren and actively assist their parents in taking care of them. In some instances, though, circumstances will arise that will prompt grandparents to seek custody of their grandchildren or ask the court to grant visitation rights. Grandparents must meet specific requirements to be awarded custodial rights, however, and if they do not, their petitions will likely be denied. If you seek grandparent custody of your grandchild or you were served with legal papers from your child’s grandparent, it is critical to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to determine your rights. The dedicated Dallas child custody attorneys of McClure Law Group are adept at handling complex custody matters, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly to help you seek the best result possible under the circumstances.Standing to Seek Custody in Texas
Under the Texas Family Code (the Code), a person must have standing to seek custody of a child. In some instances, a parent will execute a statement to confer standing. Otherwise, the Code provides that certain parties, including those that have had actual possession, control, and care of the child for at least six months, have standing to file an action for conservatorship or guardianship. People related to a child by blood also have standing if the child’s parents are deceased.
In addition to the provisions regarding general standing, the Code also expressly states that a grandparent has standing to file a suit seeking managing conservatorship, or legal custody, over a child if there is sufficient proof that the child’s current circumstances would greatly impair his or her emotional or physical health or development, or both parents or the sole surviving parent filed the petition or consented to the suit. Grandparents cannot file original suits requesting possessory conservatorship or physical custody of a child. The court may grant a grandparent leave to intervene in a pending custody suit, though, if there is sufficient proof that allowing one or both parents to act as conservator for a child would harm the child.Grandparent Custody and Visitation
The Code provides that grandparents can seek the right to possession of or access to a child. Specifically, a grandparent can make such a request by filing an original suit or a suit for modification. A grandparent seeking access or visitation must provide the court with an affidavit setting forth facts demonstrating that the denial of the request would drastically impede the child’s emotional well-being or physical health.
A court may grant a grandparent reasonable access to or possession of a grandchild if at least one of the child’s parents has not had its parental rights terminated. The grandparent must also prove that the parent does not act in the child's best interest by showing that denying the grandparent of possession of or access to the child would greatly harm the child's emotional well-being or physical health. Finally, one of the child’s parents must be the grandparent’s child, and that parent must be either incarcerated, incompetent, dead, or lack possession of or access to the child.
Grandparents cannot request possession and access to a child if the child’s biological parents are deceased, their parental rights were relinquished or terminated, or the child has been adopted or is in the process of being adopted by someone other than a stepparent.Speak to a Trusted Attorney in Dallas
Although typically, parents raise their children, in some instances, the court will find it to be in a child’s best interest award grandparent custody rights. If you need assistance regarding possession and access to a grandchild, it is smart to consult a lawyer as soon as possible. At McClure Law Group, our experienced attorneys are mindful of the sensitive nature of custody matters, and we will develop a strategy to help you seek your desired outcome respectfully and efficiently. Our primary office is located in Dallas and can meet clients for consultations at our Collin County office in Plano. We frequently help people with custody issues in Dallas, Frisco, McKinney, Irving, Richardson, Rockwall, Fort Worth, and Garland. We also represent people in family law matters in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Tarrant, Denton, Collin, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us by using our online form or calling 214.692.8200 to set up a consultation.