The other day I had a consult with a husband and his wife because they
had serious concerns regarding the grandparents of their kids. From my
conversation with this couple I learned that the Grandparent’s had
been threatening to taken them to court and get “Grandparent’s Rights” and take the children away from the parents.
Does Texas Law allow grandparents to take you kids?
Many parents have had a passing fear that someone may come to their home
night and take their children away. Hopefully, though this is not a fear
that it would be your child’s Grandparents.
There are certain circumstances in which law enforcement might be able
to show up and remove your children from your home including if you are
using illegal drugs, if you are leaving them alone at the age of 5 or
less, you are not feed them, etc.
In such circumstances you might find yourself visited by a CPS worker and
your children may end up being places with a Grandparent. However, a Grandparent
does not have special rights to your children. There are certain circumstances
where a grandparent may gain rights to your children through a lawsuit in court.
There are no automatic grandparent’s rights
In my consult with the Parents I found out that the Grandparents had been
using some real intimidation to make the couple question themselves and
put them in fear of losing their children.
From my brief encounter with them they seemed like a normal couple from
a nice neighborhood. They did not seem like anyone who would ever have
a reason to fear that CPS would ever knock on their door.
They both worked hard at their jobs, would come home and make sure their
children had a meal to eat. However, these Grandparent would then criticize
the parent that it was less than nutritious or that it was not a homemade
meal and was carryout.
These Grandparents made a special effort to points out everything the parents
were doing wrong. I let the parents know at this point that from everything
I heard so far they could just ignore the Grandparents.
Some states are more court friendly to grandparents than in Texas. Texas
has taken the approach that grandparents can see their grandchildren any
time a parent of that child wishes. However if the parents object to grandparent
visitation then they will not happen.
In other words grandparents have no legal automatic
visitation rights to their grandchildren they would have pursue them by going to Court.
Parental Presumption - a Steep Mountain Grandparent’s must climb
There was more to story. The Grandparents were sending threatening emails
to the couple. They were not content to just tell them how to raise the
grand kids, but were planning on filing a lawsuit because they did not
think the parents were raising the children right.
In Texas putting on evidence that the non-parent would be a better parent
to the child is not enough to win in court and become the managing conservator
of a child instead of a parent. More is required.
If a parent is simply denying a grandparent access to a child a courts
will presume that the parents are acting in the child’s best interest.
Under Texas Family Code § 153.433(a)(2) a grandparent will have to
overcome this by a preponderance of the evidence.
A non-parent can only gain possession or access of a child over a parent
when they can show under Texas Family Code § 153.432 (c) that not
doing so would “significantly impair the child’s physical
health or emotional well-being.”
What this means is that once parents and grandparents walk into a court
in a battle regarding the grandchildren they are not on equal footing.
Parents are ahead and not just a little. However, before grandparents
can even get to court they have another problem.
Standing the Battle before the Custody Battle
Before the grandparents can bring a lawsuit in Courts regarding their grandchildren,
Texas law requires they have standing to do so.
The Texas Family Code states that the court may order reasonable possession
of or access to a grandchild by a grandparent if:
- at the time the relief is requested, at least one biological or adoptive
parent of the child has not had that parent’s parental rights terminated;
- the grandparent requesting possession of or access to the child overcomes
the presumption that a parent acts in the best interest of the parent’s
child by proving by a preponderance of the evidence that denial of possession
of or access to the child would significantly impair the child’s
physical health or emotional well-being; and
- the grandparent requesting possession of or access to the child is a parent
of a parent of the child and that parent of the child:
- has been incarcerated in jail or prison during the three-month period preceding
the filing of the petition;
- has been found by a court to be incompetent;
- is dead; or
- does not have actual or court-ordered possession of or access to the child.
If you want to know more about what you can do,
CLICK the button below to get your
“16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested on regarding
- Grandparent Visitation Rights in Texas?
- Grandparents' Rights in Texas
- Divorcing After Age 50 in Texas: What it Can Mean for You and Your Spouse
- 7 Tips for Divorcing After Age 50 in Texas
- Can I sue my spouse's mistress in Texas?
- When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
- Texas Divorce Morality Clause: Be Careful What You Ask For
- 6 Tips - On How to prepare for a Texas Divorce
- How am I going to Pay for My Texas Divorce?
- How Much Will My Texas Divorce Cost?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children
and families. If you have questions regarding
divorce, it's important to speak with one of our
Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and
developing a strategy to meet those goals.
Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online
form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles
Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein,
The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and