Grandparents have a special bond with their grandchildren. Often, grandparents provide an extra layer of love and stability for children, especially in single parent families. In some cases, a grandparent may feel the need to establish a more official and permanent presence in their loved one’s life.
What is the federal position on grandparent rights?
The United States Supreme Court does not support a grandparent’s right to visit grandchildren without the parent’s consent. So, unfortunately, if you do not have the parent’s blessing to see your grandchild, there is not much that a court can do for you except in cases where the parent is deemed unfit.
What are the rules in Texas specifically?
While the federal government may not seem that promising, state rules give you options. If certain circumstances are at play, you may be able to pursue either custody or visitation rights in Texas. If the court determines that seeing you is in the child’s best interests and one of the following scenarios is at play, you may be able to pursue legal visitation with success:
- A divorce has separated the parents
- Abuse or neglect is present
- A parent has been imprisoned or found legally unfit
- A court has terminated the natural parental relationship
- The grandchild has lived with you for at least six months
If the last scenario applies to your situation, you may be able to seek legal custody, not just visitation. In this case, you could not only continue to provide for your grandchild, but you could also file for child support to assist you financially. This may lighten your load and enable you to provide more comfortably for yourself and those in your household.
While a grandparent may feel entitled to visitation, the legal recourse for grandparent visitation and custody is restricted to scenarios in which the child is truly in need of a stable adult influence. If you can provide that presence in your loved one’s life, consider whether visitation rights or custody is a better fit for your specific circumstances.