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When Can a Grandmother Use Grandparent Rights in Texas?

 Posted on February 12, 2024 in Child Custody

Blog ImageTexas law allows grandparents to petition the court for access to or custody of their grandchildren in certain circumstances. These legal options uphold the grandparent-grandchild relationship when the parents are unable or unfit to care for the children properly. A Texas family law attorney can help determine if you have legal grounds for grandparent rights.

If the Parents Are Deceased, Act Quickly

First, if one or both parents pass away, Texas grandmothers have 90 days after the date of death to petition for access to their grandchildren. Because parental rights were intact before their death, grandparents must prove to the court that ongoing contact would serve the child’s best interest. The court determines the best interest by factors like:

  • The past close relationship between grandparent and grandchild

  • The grandparent’s willingness to care for and support the child

  • Maintaining family ties and stability after losing a parent

Getting an affidavit from the child’s guardian ad litem, doctor, therapist, or other third parties supporting the involved grandmother’s role can bolster the petition as well.

Within that 90-day window, the grandmother should hire a family law attorney to file the proper petition. This court process determines whether visitation or custody rights should transfer to the grandmother compared to orphaning the child or placing them into foster care after parental death.

When Parental Rights are Terminated

The termination of both parents’ rights opens a path for a grandmother to gain access. If Child Protective Services (CPS) removes children and successfully terminates parental rights, a grandmother may seek managing conservatorship (custody) of the children.

As with deceased parents, the court will determine if granting custody or visitation to the grandmother fits the children’s best interests. Her past relationship with the grandchildren, home environment, and capability to care for the children, as well as any CPS concerns, will factor into the decision

Unfit Sole or Joint Managing Conservator

Texas grandmothers do have options if they believe the current sole or joint managing conservator endangers or harms their grandchildren’s well-being. This could include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, substance addiction, criminal activity, or chronic instability in the custodial parent’s home environment.

A grandmother will need to petition the court to modify the current court order, provide evidence documenting the parent’s lack of fitness, and request visitation rights. This legal process is most successful with the help of an experienced family law attorney, as the custodial parent could fight the allegations. The court aims to act in the best interest of the children in these types of cases.

Contact a Denton, TX Family Law Lawyer

Texas grandmothers do have available legal options to continue playing a role in their grandchildren’s lives if major problems emerge in the parental homes. Especially after losing one or both parents, grandparents can provide stability when the courts determine visitation serves the children’s best interests. A Frisco, TX family law attorney can help you with the process. Call The Law Office of Linda Risinger at 972-294-6533 for a free consultation.

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