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Grandparent rights cases in Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic

Some of the most rewarding cases that the attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan get to work on are those involving grandparents and their relationships to their grandchildren. As a parent myself, it gives me a great deal of joy to be able to see my family and that of my wife interact with my kids. Sing parents interact with their children and their children's children allows you to see new elements of people that you have known for your entire life. It also helps you to learn more about yourself as a parent when you interact with grandparents on a prolonged level. 

There are really 2 important parts of a grandparent case in Texas. There are those grandparents that are seeking visitation time with their grandkids that has been denied by parents to this point. Or, there are grandparents who believe that they need to fight for conservatorships over their grandkids when a parent is unable to fulfill those obligations. No matter what position you find yourself in, if you are reading today's blog post and are yourself a grandparent then I hope that the information we discuss today will be of some help to you. 

Undoubtedly, there is a great deal of emotion in play when considering your ability to spend time with and develop a relationship with your grandchildren. Every family has their own dynamic in every family has their own set of circumstances that are unique to them. I cannot possibly know exactly what is going on in your family in regard to you and your grandchildren. However, I do believe that there is some information that I can share with you that is nearly universal if you are considering whether or not to file a lawsuit in family courts regarding your rights as a grandparent. 

In today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, I would like to share with you some information regarding grandparents’ rights. The reality of what rights grandparents either do or do not possess in Texas may surprise you. If after reading this blog post you find that the information that we have discussed does not pertain to your circumstances then I would advise you contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today licensed family law attorneys can meet with you in person, over the phone, or via video to discuss your family and how best our office can serve you. 

Do grandparents have significant rights in relation to the grandchildren in Texas? 

When considering grandparents rights in Texas the reality of the situation is that grandparents have virtually no right to possess or make decisions on behalf of their grandchildren. Although grandparents do you have a special place in the lives of their grandchildren in many cases parents are given primacy as far as decision making for their children. This means that if your child does not allow you to have Visitation with your grandchild then your potential options are limited do you increase the time with which you can spend with your grandkids. 

The reason for this is that parents are presumed to be acting in the best interest of their children when they make decisions on their behalf. Even if the decisions made by your grandchildren's parents mean that you do not get to spend much time with them the presumption still holds. You may not pose any kind of threat to your grandkids, you may have never been a problem to your grandchild or their family but if you're grandchild parents do not wish for you to have contact with your grandchild then your options to pursue at that point are somewhat limited. However? That does not mean that you have no choice but to sit idly by and do nothing when you want to be able to develop a relationship with your grandchild. 

A grandparent may be able to file a lawsuit seeking to establish visitation or conservatorship rights in relation to their grandchild. For most families there is a great deal of benefit for you to be able to have a relationship with the grandchild. However, the state of Texas believes that it is primarily most beneficial for you your grandchild to have a relationship with his or her parents. As a result, the state legislature believes that no person Maine intercede between that relationship absent extraordinary circumstances. 

Our office handles cases on behalf of grandparents with great regularity. Many grandparents who contact us have no clue as to what degree of rights they have in relation to the grandchild. Some of these grandparents have not seen their grandchildren in many years and are now wanting to act in a way that would provide them with formal visitation rights to be able to spend time with the grandkids. Other times, grandparents contact us because they believe that their children are not capable of caring for their grandchildren. 

I think what we need to figure out today is to what extent do grandparents have a right to engage in possession and access of their grandchildren over and above the wishes or desires of that grandchild's parents. As with most family law cases your individual circumstances will largely determine right you have to establish a family law case seeking formal grandparents Visitation. 

The law in Texas does allow for a limited amount of possession and access rights for grandparents. For the vast majority of the time this relates to grandparents who already have a relationship with that grandchild or relate to a circumstance involving a parent who is either deceased or is incarcerated. Obviously, these are not circumstancing that are particularly pleasant, but they do happen and can impact a family like yours. 

Many times, families find themselves in a situation where you as a grandparent have a child who gives birth to a grandchild of yours With whom you have little contact over the course of a few years due to the decisions made by your child to limit possession access of your grandchild. It could be that your daughter has moved out of town in that you contact your child with regularity to be able to come and see your grandchild. However, if your child is denying you visitation with him or her then you may have questions about what options are available to pursue court ordered time with him or her.

What does the law in Texas say about grandparents’ rights to visit with their grandchildren? 

There are situations where a court can enforce, you're right as a grandparent to be live visit with your grandchild. Most commonly those situations involve a circumstance where your child has divorced the other parent of your grandchild, where abuse or neglect of your grandchild is occurring, when your child or the child other parent is incarcerated or were your grandchild has lived with you for at least the past six months. 

Sometimes your grandchild's mother or father will have a drug addiction or be imprisoned as a result of that drug addiction. I've also seen situations where parents have no established residence for the grandchild and are basically couch surfing, going from place to place and relying on the generosity of friends and family to provide a roof over the head of their child. This can be a very difficult circumstance for a grandparent like yourself to watch And I could definitely understand the motivation to want to intercede and provide a safe port in the storm for your grandchild. 

If you find yourself in a situation like this then you need to have concrete steps in mind as to how to proceed in order to help your grandchild. If your plan is to file some sort of lawsuit in a family court, you need to be able to provide notice to your grandchild's parents that you have filed the lawsuit in the first place. This can be more difficult than it sounds if you do not know where or how to locate him or her. Having an address to go off of is a good place to start. A cell phone number will not do. 

You can use the downtime that many of us are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic to determine whether or not you are in a position to file a family law case seeking to establish Visitation rights as a grandparent. You can speak to one of our attorneys about whether or not you have standing to apply for custody, Visitation rights, or even to become a Guardian of your grandchild. That attorney could file they lawsuit on your behalf and family court where you could ultimately be established as a conservator of your grandchild.

What does it mean to become a conservator of your grandchild? 

Whether you are a parent going through a divorce or a grandparent who is seeking to establish your rights in relation to a grandchild ultimately the top prize in a case is too have conservative shipwrights appointed to you in relation to that child. Being a conservator of another person means that you are able to make decisions on that person's behalf in a legal sense. For your grandchildren, you could then make decisions about where child goes to school, what sort of medical treatment he or she receives and two also obtain insurance for that child and perform other legal duties for him or her while they are a minor child. 

If you are not seeking conservatorship rights over your grandchild and are instead seeking visitation rights, then I would again mention to you that you as a grandparent have limited rights in this regard. It is certainly true that your child has superior rights to access and Visitation of your grandchild as their parent while we all have more time to spend with family at home it may make more sense for you to attempt to reconcile with your grandchild's parents if there is need to do so. An honest evaluation of your role in the deterioration of the relationship that you have with your grandchild's parents may result in you figuring out that there are steps you can take that do not involve a judge which can allow you to get the Visitation time with your grandchild that you desire. 

Are there circumstances in which you could obtain custody of your grandchild? 

Despite the superior rights that parents in Texas have compared to grandparents in relation to raising a child there are opportunities for grandparents to intercede and obtain custody of a grandchild. Keep in mind that a court cannot get in between the relationship that your children have with your grandchildren. However, if your grandchild's physical and mental needs are not being met by their parents then you have an opportunity to intercede on behalf of your grandchild.

If your grandchild's current home environment presents a serious concern regarding their physical or emotional well-being or one or both of your grandchild's parents have given you the OK to become a custodian of your grandchild, you may move forward. You may also seek custody by intervening into a custody now see that was previously filed by either of her grandchild's parents or by the state of Texas. You cannot file an original custody lawsuit against your grandchild's parents only if an existing court case is ongoing may you attempt to intervene into that lawsuit and proceed to file a request for custody.

Final thoughts on grandparents in their rights in Texas 

without a doubt, grandparents play a central role in the lives of grandchildren. With so much benefit to be gained from this relationship it is sad to see a circumstance where a grandparent and grandchild are not able to connect. If you find yourself in a position where your contact with her grandchild has been cut off due to any number of circumstances, you should know that you have options. 

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is here to help you sort through those options and select which of them, if any, suits you in your particular circumstances the best. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations over the phone, in person or via video six days a week. We appreciate your spending part of your day with us today and hope you will join us tomorrow as we share more information on Texas family law here on our blog. 

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