Unfortunately, difficulties often arise when raising children. Whether
the circumstances were avoidable or unforeseeable from the perspective
of the parents, sometimes other family members feel the brunt of one or
both parents’ issues with each other. One casualty of
divorce is when a parent does not allow the child to see their grandparents as
a result of discord at home.
Grandparents have a special role in families, perhaps second only to that
of the parent-child relationship. When
divorce occurs parents can genuinely feel hurt to the point where they feel the
need to protect themselves and their children. When I speak with a potential
client of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan and they have question about
grandparents’ rights in Texas the conversation that we went into isn’t always an easy one to digest.
What are Grandparent Rights in Texas?
The state of Texas, like all other states, have specific laws that outline
the extent to which grandparents have rights to visit with and have possession/access
of their children. In today’s world where the nuclear family isn’t
so nuclear anymore this isn’t surprising. What is surprising to
many is how our state comes down on this issue. There are laws in the
state that related to child custody and their grandparent(s) while others
apply generally to adults of all sorts but do not necessarily exclude
Texas has Strong Pro-Parent Rights
In Texas, our laws are strongly pro-parents’ rights. This means that
even if grandparents do not approve of how mom and dad are handling the
kids, it does not mean that they can file a lawsuit and interrupt the
relationship between parents and their children. It is a presumption that
parents are acting in the best interest of the children in basically all
circumstances, absent issues of abuse, neglect and other extreme fact patterns.
Grandparents can Establish Rights in Certain Situations
Grandparents, simply put, are not presumed to have a right automatically
to be able to have access and possession to their grandchildren. However,
when circumstances arise that have the potential to have a detrimental
effect on the
family a court can step in. Circumstances sufficiently important to have a court enter
the fray include the death of one or both parents, a parent going to jail,
violence in the family, and the termination of a parents’
One case that I can write about from personal experience involves two grandparents
and their grandchildren. This was a case that we recently helped to settle.
The facts and circumstances are extremely unique and I think do a great
job of illustrating the above points. Approximately two years ago our
clients’ son was arrested on charges relating to a sex-crime. The
son’s two children, both teenagers, were under the direct control
and supervision of their mother. This would begin to be an issue for our
clients as they found out that mom wasn’t too keen on them having
any time to spend with the grandkids. What made the situation even worse
was that their son wanted nothing to do with his parents after he was
sent to prison. Our grandparents had no advocates for them to be able
to see and spend time with their grandchildren.
After months of not even having the ability to speak to their grandkids
on the phone or in person, a phone call was placed to our office for a
consultation with these two grandparents. After allowing them an opportunity
to air their grievances with the kids’ mother and life in general
it was time for our office to be able to speak to the grandparents about
their rights vis a vis their grandchildren. When I went through the basics of
grandparents rights’ in Texas it was unsurprising that they were not feeling too great about their chances
to get more time with their grandchildren. I let them know that they are
not completely shut out as far as rights and that if they felt strongly
about the situation they ought to consider filing a lawsuit to see where
the process leads them.
Fortunately for them, they decided to heed this advice and they began the
somewhat winding process of having their case filed in the courts here
in Harris County. We were able to schedule mediation with the mother’s
attorney and have all parties present in a setting where a settlement
would be most likely. Our office has written blog posts previously on
mediation and this case offered another example of why our office strongly
endorses this process. While grandma and grandpa did not get everything
they wanted at the outset of the case, they were able to work with the
mother of their grandchildren in order to arrive at a
visitation schedule that allows for them to re-build a relationship with the children.
What can Grandparents do to Help their Case?
What helped the
grandparents’ case? For starters, our office encouraged them to diligently take notes on
their thoughts and concerns about the case. This allowed our office to
answer their questions quickly and readily. Secondly, we let these clients
know early on that if they could present a strong case of having a close
relationship with the children then that could really go a long way towards
showing the kids’ mother that going to court could result in the
grandparents presenting some convincing evidence as to why they need to
be awarded time with their grandkids due to a long lasting bond.
While it is impossible for the attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
or any other attorney for that matter to guarantee a client any particular
result in their case, it is possible through diligent communication and
preparation to avoid a protracted and costly case and arrive at a successful
settlement fairly early in the life of a case. Grandparents certainly
have a tough road to hoe when it comes to negotiating time with their
grandchildren- especially if one or both parents are against the idea
for one reason or another.
To learn more about your
rights as a grandparent, or for more information on any
family law issue, please contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our
office has attorneys and staff members ready and standing by to meet you
and to learn more about your particular legal situation.
If you want to know more about what you can do,
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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