Are you a grandparent? Are you raising your grandchildren? Are you having difficulty because you don’t have any established rights? If your answer is “Yes” to these three questions, all hope is not lost. Texas law does afford grandparents the right to custody and access to the child under certain circumstances. If awarded custody of your grandchildren you will have all the legal rights of a custodial parent such as the right to collect medical and child support from your grandchild’s parents.
Grandparent’s Rights in Texas
In order to institute a case for grandparent access the grandparent must first have standing to sue, meaning they must meet certain criteria to be able to bring the matter before court. In order to have standing to sue as a grandparent for custody, the grandparent must either prove:
Six Months Possession
The Texas Family Code provides a provision most often used in grandparent cases that allows a suit for custody to be filed by any person who has had actual care, control, and possession of the child for at least six months. If your grandchildren have lived with you for at least six months on a continual basis, then you may qualify to file for custody of your grandchildren and gain all the legal rights and benefits to care for them properly.
Child’s Safety and Well-Being
Grandparents are allowed to file a custody suit under Texas Family Code §102.004 if they can prove to the court that “the child’s present circumstances would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.” Under this provision of the Texas Family Code, a grandparent must show that the child’s parents are unfit and that the child’s physical health and safety are at risk in order to gain custody of the grandchildren.
Once a grandparent has established standing to sue for custody, they must also show that allowing the grandparent to have custody of the child is in the child’s best interest.
If you are a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchildren, meet with an attorney before making a decision in order to have a clear understanding of your rights and to insure that your rights and your grandchildren’s rights are being protected.
Attorney Krystin Collins is a native of the Acres Homes Community. She is a graduate of Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and has been a licensed attorney since 2009. Her primary practice areas are criminal defense, civil litigation, personal injury, estate planning, and divorce. She may be contacted at 713-775-0332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.