Grandparents Visitation Rights
The magical moment has finally arrived and you have morphed from a parent into a grandparent (or nana, nanny, popo, pops or whatever moniker you have selected or has been bestowed upon you)! As a grandparent you assumed that your duties would be to visit with the grandchildren as often as you can, babysit on occasion and spoil and return your beloved grandchildren to their parents on a very regular basis. Or, at least that was the plan. You never expected that you would be looking for a family lawyer to get visitation rights with your grandchildren.
Either your life plan never got going or something in your relationship with your child or the other parent of your grandchild went wrong, way wrong. Now you need legal help because you want or need to obtain some kind of legal access to your grandchild over the objections of a parent of the child. We can help you fight for grandparent visitation rights.
What You Need to Prove in Texas for Grandparents’ Visitation Rights
Although one might think that the bar for grandparents’ visitation would fall below the requirement to seek custody of a grandchild, that the bar is just as high as the one for seeking custody. It is also correct to say that the obstacles that one must overcome before even having the legal right to file a case (also called standing), to seek visitation are numerous and onerous.
Let’s get started.
Before you even have the right to seek assistance from the court in the form of Court ordered visitation you must attach to your request filed with the court a sworn statement that says that if your allegations are taken as true; denial of your access to your grandchild would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. If you cannot meet this requirement, the Court must deny the relief you request and dismiss your suit without a further inquiry or hearing.
As you can see, this is something of a mountain that you must climb. You will need a dedicated and talented family law attorney to assist you in scaling that mountain to past the initial obstacle of standing.
Once you have made it past the standing issue, your next task is to show that you meet at least one of the following criteria:
1. At least one biological or adoptive parent of the child has not had that parent’s parental rights terminated. This means either your child or the other parent (or both) must not have had their parental rights terminated.
2. You, the grandparent requesting access, must overcome the presumption that the parent denying you access is acting in the best interest of the child. You must overcome this presumption by showing that not allowing you court ordered access to your grandchild would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well being. Does this sound familiar? It should because this is the first mountain you climbed and you were successful. But now the parent denying you access gets an opportunity to disprove what you put in your affidavit to get to this point.
3. You, the grandparent requesting access, must show that YOUR CHILD is:
A. Incarcerated in jail or prison during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition
B. Has been found by a court to be incompetent
C. Is deceased OR
D. Does not have actual or court ordered access to the child.
So, in D, if your child does not have a court order but is actually seeing the child in question and will not share time with you, you are out.
As you can see, fighting for visitation with your grandchildren takes a lot of sustained effort and legal expertise. Our team of attorneys is well poised to fight in your corner so you can get visitation rights with your granchild[ren].