For a grandparent like yourself who needs help in securing time with your grandchildren, you need to have an attorney who believes in your case and believes in you. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are fortunate enough to have years and years of experience helping grandparents just like you accomplish their goals in the context of a Texas child custody case. Whether that goal is to secure custody of your grandchildren or visitation rights, we know what it takes to win in court and at the negotiating table.
The trouble with a grandparent’s rights case is that you cannot necessarily equate the love that you have for your grandchildren with your chances of success within the case itself. Grandparents, even the best of them, have an uphill battle when it comes to securing visitation or custody rights. Parents in Texas enjoy a legal presumption that the decisions that they make on behalf of their children are in their best interests. This means that if your child or your child’s co-parent has denied you visitation or access to your grandchildren then the law presumes that the decision was in the best interests of your grandchildren.
This is where the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can make a huge difference in your case. We can show you how your devotion, love, and care for your grandchildren over the scope of their lives can translate into a winning case for you in family court. You do not have to settle for unreturned phone calls or Christmas cards that never yield more than heartbreak. We can help you but only if you reach out to our office to learn more about the services that we provide to our grandparent clients. We can do the same for you- please reach out to us today for a free-of-charge consultation.
Consider this as an example of what can happen in a situation involving a loving grandparent who happens to wind up in a situation that is beyond her control. Suppose that you and your adult child run into a rough patch in your relationship. Maybe you don't agree with a decision that she made and decide to talk to her about that. She takes offense to you voicing your opinion and suddenly she no longer is taking your phone calls. Your weekly trip over to her house to see the grandchildren has been canceled four weeks in a row. You stopped getting invitations to the children's t-ball games in the fall. You're worried that they won't be accepting your invitation to your home for Thanksgiving.
What are the legal options available to a grandparent to enforce your rights?
Grandparents do not have many statutory rights to enforce when it comes to visitation or possession in Texas. Parents are given the ultimate authority when it comes to determining who should have access to their children. If you as a grandparent are denied access to them, then in most cases the law will favor the decision of mom or dad. This is despite your intentions or the history that you have as a grandparent. However, there are some avenues that you can pursue to push forward and attempt to win specific visitation and even custody rights for your grandchildren.
If you are a grandparent who has been involved in the lives of your grandchildren, then you have an opportunity to be able to present yourself as someone who should have established visitation rights with them. For example, consider a situation where your grandchildren have always been close to you and your husband. The grandkids would come over for events all the time. You were at their home after school to see that the kids got off the school bus and home safe and sound. This was the type of relationship that you had with them.
Holidays, big events, birthdays- all of these sorts of important days are situations where you were with your grandchildren. You love them and they love you. You built memories that will last a lifetime with them and did as much as you could for them. This was how the relationship was supposed to be, you figured. Being a grandparent was a blessing and one that you were not going to pass up anytime soon. Cut to the situation you have now- your daughter (the mother of the grandkids) decided that she wanted a divorce from her husband (the father of the grandkids). Dad was cut out of the picture during the divorce and Mom decided to enter a serious relationship immediately after the divorce. This is where the trouble began.
As a grandparent, you have spoken to your daughter about being able to see the children more. Not in an aggressive way, just in a way that will help your daughter know that you want to help as best you can. You and your husband (grandpa) are eager to continue to be a part of your grandchildren’s lives despite not seeing them as much since the divorce happened. However, your daughter’s new boyfriend is not a fan of the kids seeing you and your husband. He has even gone so far as to confront the two of you the last time you came to the house. He thinks that you are trying to manipulate the kids in some way to be against him. You, of course, say that this is not true and insist that you just want to be able to spend as much time with your grandchildren as possible.
Still, he and your daughter have now told you that you will not be able to see your grandchildren except in limited situations. Heartbroken, you took this as the end of the relationship with your grandchildren- at least at first. However, you started to think about the bond that you had with your grandchildren, and you were not ready to accept that quite yet. As it turns out, you live by the Humble office for the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. You and your husband live near Lake Houston and used to take the kids out on the boat all the time. These were the sort of memories that you could have built with your grandchildren had the relationship not been prematurely ended.
Meeting with an attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
In all your years of life, you and your husband have never had to hire an attorney before. You've kept your noses clean as far as the legal system is concerned. You were able to avoid problems with the law, and disputes regarding your small business and have never had to talk to a lawyer about a family law matter. You reason that you've been lucky throughout your lives to be able to say all these things. However, that has stopped as of now. Now that you have run into these issues regarding the grandchildren you know that it is time for you to talk to a group of attorneys who can help you sort through the difficulties that you have been encountering when it comes to the law and your grandchildren.
Setting up a free-of-charge consultation with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is simple. First of all, a consultation is just a meeting with one of our attorneys. There is nothing formal about a consultation. We do not ask you to sign anything, and you are under no pressure to become a client or file a legal case. All these consultations do is allow you to answer questions, for the attorney to provide you with responses, and for our office to talk to you about how we may be able to help you. These are straightforward conversations that do not require much time. We can talk with you for thirty minutes if you need it, but sometimes you learn all you need to in fifteen or less.
You are not forming an attorney-client relationship by contacting our office for a consultation. What you are doing is getting your foot in the door as far as learning more about how we at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can potentially help you in legal matters. No two-family law cases are the same. There are so many unique scenarios that have played out in your life and that of your grandchildren over the past few months that it would be impossible to gauge how successful you would be in a family law case just based on asking a friend or even reading about something online. Rather, taking the time to learn about your specific circumstances and how they interact with the law is what you can gain from our office.
What you can do is set up an appointment with our office in one of a handful of different ways. First, you can call us at 281-810-9760. A friendly voice will answer the phone and help you to figure out a good time and date to come in and meet with one of our attorneys. You will not be speaking with a lawyer who has no experience in court. You will not be speaking with a legal assistant who cannot give you firsthand experience and information about a grandparent’s rights case. Rather, you will be speaking with an attorney who not only works for our office but has a great deal of practical experience and information that can assist you in whatever you want to do regarding your case.
Next, you can schedule an appointment online through our website. This is a great way to immediately get yourself set up with a date and time to speak with one of our attorneys. You can see on your computer, laptop, tablet, or phone screen the available time slots to choose from. You can select the one that works best for your schedule and from there you can focus on preparing to sit and talk with one of our attorneys.
Like any conversation, a consultation with one of our family law attorneys will involve talking and listening. We want you to be able to tell us everything that you think is important about your case. We know that you love your grandchildren and want what is best for them. We also know that you are upset, possibly angry, and confused about where to go from here when you do not have access to them that you may otherwise have earlier in their lives. You would like answers to your questions and that is what our attorneys specialize in- helping people solve their problems.
While the attorney that you meet with will not be giving you legal advice in these consultations, he or she can still provide you with information. Once you have told the attorney that you are meeting with everything that you think is important about your situation, you can take a rest and let the attorney speak to you in response. The attorney is going to talk with you about your situation, the law, and how the two interact. You can learn a great deal from listening and learning more about what it is going to take for you to be successful in your family law case.
Standing- the key to a Grandparent's rights case
Grandparents are not like parents in the sense that you cannot automatically file a legal case involving your grandchildren. Rather, you will need to show a court that you have what is known as standing. Standing means that the nature of your relationship with your grandchildren and the facts of your case put you in a position to be able to file a lawsuit on your own without intervening in a case already filed by another party, such as your son or daughter.
The most direct way to establish standing in a family law case is to argue that you have had a substantial relationship in the past with your grandchildren. Within the prior six months before filing a case for visitation or custody rights, you would need to show that you have been a caretaker or other similar role on behalf of your grandchildren. Photos, witness testimony, and other types of evidence will be needed to show this to a judge. Having an experienced family law attorney on board to help you through this process can be very helpful.
Next, you would need to show the impact that not having contact with your grandchildren has had on them. While you may be suffering because of not having contact with your grandchildren it is the kids themselves that the court is concerned with. This is not to say that a judge would be callous to your issues and concerns regarding the problems with your relationship, but it is in the best interests of your grandchildren that the court would ultimately have to decide on. The emotional development of the children will be looked at, as well as their physical well-being.
If you can prove to the judge that you have had a substantial role in raising the children and that they are now suffering emotionally, physically, or both then you have an opportunity to gain standing and pursue a case for custody or visitation rights. Talking with an attorney about these subjects is important given how difficult it can be sometimes to prove these elements. It is not a given that a grandparent has standing to pursue a case like this even if you are the most loving, caring grandparent in the world.
Steps to take right now as a grandparent who wants to pursue a family law case
After reading all of this you may be wondering what the best, next step to take can be when it comes to pursuing your rights as a grandparent in Texas. We have provided you with information in this blog post but as far as marching orders you may not know exactly where to go from here. Without knowing you or your circumstances we could not possibly provide you with that guidance here. However, speaking with one of the licensed and experienced family law attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can be incredibly helpful to you and your family at a time like this. We do not treat you like you are a number or have a case just the same as anyone else.
Rather, we treat the folks that come to speak to us about their case as individuals. You deserve that and so do your family members. We know that this is not an easy time for your family, and we are sympathetic to what you are going through. At the same time, we care enough about you to listen intently to what you have to say about your situation and then can provide you with information that can be of assistance to you during this time in your life.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as how your family may be impacted by the filing of a child custody or grandparent's rights case.
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