Grandparent rights in Texas: Visitation and Preparing for a case

Grandparent rights in Texas: Visitation and Preparing for a case

In Part One of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan’s blog posts on grandparent rights in Texas, we discussed the factors that come into play when you as a grandparent wants to win custody of your grandchildren. If that topic interests you or is relevant to your life I would recommend that you go back and read it. If after reading it you have questions that you think an attorney needs to address please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan and we will assist you in setting up a free of charge consultation to answer your questions and speak to you about the services our office provides.

With that said, what if you are a grandparent who just wants to make sure that you have the ability to see your grandchildren periodically? This may not sound like an impossible dream or aspiration to most people, but some family circumstances involve a parent or parents not allowing contact between their children and their children’s grandparents. If that sums up your life then this blog post is intended for you. Finally, we will discuss some advice from our years of experience representing grandparents as to how a grandparent such as yourself can best prepare for the filing of a custody or visitation lawsuit in a Texas family law court.

Essential knowledge when it comes to filing for court ordered visitation with your grandchildren

There is a fine line between an overbearing grandparent and a grandparent who has legitimate concerns for the well being of their grandchildren. When life happens and the result is that there has been a distance put between yourself and your grandchildren it is understandable to be upset by this. Having attempted to gain access to your grandchildren through their parents has probably not gone well. They may have some objection to your being in contact with their children and no matter what it is the end result is that you don’t have the visitation with your grandchildren that you may want. What do you actually need to establish in a courtroom to get that visitation if you have no other option to pursue?

What proof is necessary to win visitation rights to your grandchildren?

First things first, you must establish the legal right to file a visitation suit in Texas. This is called “standing” in lawyer-speak. The state of Texas has set forth particular ways that a grandparent can establish standing to seek visitation. The reasons why you should be considered to have standing are typically laid out in an affidavit to be filed along with your petition to the court. The petition is your initial document filed with the court that introduces yourself, your spouse (if you have one) and the names of your grandchildren and their parents. The affidavit must set forth the reasons why your being denied visitation with the children is harming their physical health or emotional well being. If a judge reviews this document and believes that you have not met this requirement then your case will not be given a hearing date and will be dismissed without any further action.

If you make it past this initial hurdle then you must be able to show that one of the following scenarios applies to you as a grandparent:

-you must overcome the assumption that the parent denying you access and visitation with your grandchildren is acting in the child’s best interests. This should sound familiar because it is the same requirement that we listed above in the section on standing. The key difference at this stage in the analysis is that the parent is able to present evidence to the contrary in an attempt to disprove your position

-you would have to show that your child is either 1) incarcerated during the three month period that preceded your filing the visitation lawsuit, 2) deceased 3) determined by a court to be incompetent or 4) that your child has no actual or court ordered access to the grandchild

-you must show that at least one of your grandchildren’s parents does not have their rights to the children terminated at the time of the filing of your visitation suit

If you are able to clear these hurdles and establish superior evidence to that of the opposing party then you have an opportunity to win a suit for visitation with your grandchildren. Again, the odds are not stacked in your favor but there are opportunities within the law to present a strong case despite the aforementioned obstacles.

Preparing for a Grandparent’s rights case

Diligent note taking, calendaring and establishing a timeline of events for your attorney will be imperative to getting your custody/visitation case off on the right foot. Prior clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have come in with diary entries, photographs showing themselves with their grandchildren and other documentary evidence that can be used to establish the strength of the grandparents’ relationship with their grandchildren.

With as many difficult aspects to a grandparent’s rights case as there are, not having information organized in way for your attorney to hit the ground running will be a severe disadvantage for you to operate from. Even establishing the standing to bring the lawsuit can be difficult so it is imperative for you to have a strong case to make in your initial affidavit. An organized plan of attack at the outset will benefit you in the courtroom if you are not able to settle with your grandchildren’s parent or parents in mediation or other informal setting.

Additional questions about Grandparent’s rights in Texas? Contact our office today

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan serves families across southeast Texas and we would be honored to speak to you about your family law issues and questions. For a free consultation, contact our office today. Our licensed family law attorneys are available to meet with you six days a week for a free of charge meeting in a comfortable and friendly environment.

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