Grandparents visitation and access to grandchildren in Texas

By: Leslie Barrows April 6, 2018 no comments

Grandparents visitation and access to grandchildren in Texas

Grandparents visitation and access to grandchildren in Texas

Grandparents know that if mom or dad says no, ask grandma or grandpa. The importance of grandparents in the lives of young children is unquestionable. They are wise and perfect in the eyes of our children. They are excellent baby sitters, chefs and will take you to see all the sights.

In some families affected by divorce and other complications in life, grandparents can take on more of a caretaker role. While grandparents often get involved on an informal and voluntary basis, there are other times that Texas courts are involved in grandparents and their ability to have court-ordered visitation, also known in Texas as possession and access.

What is Troxel v. Granville?

The U.S. Supreme Court held in the year 2000 that parents have a fundamental right to raise their children. The Court: “The interest of parents in the care, custody and control of their children—is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.[i]

The parents’ fundamental right limits a court’s authority to order grandparent visitation, possession and access where the parents object and have sole rights to raise their children. While grandparents themselves do not have a fundamental right to raising grandchildren, state courts and laws giving special weight to a fit parent’s wishes.

There are often rumblings of new litigation and court cases involving these matters, but for now Troxel v. Granville stands as the law of the land. Meanwhile, in Texas there are conditions in which grandparents may obtain court-ordered possession and access.

When can Texas courts order grandparents to have visitation possession and access?

The office of the Texas Attorney General maintains a helpful “Grandparents’ Page” sharing the circumstances in which Texas law allows a court to authorize grandparent visitation.

Grandparent visitation must be in the best interest of the child, and one of the following must apply:

  • “The parents divorced;
  • The parent abused or neglected the child;
  • The parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent, or died;
  • A court-order terminated the parent-child relationship; or
  • The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months.[ii]

Note that if the grandchild was adopted by someone other than the step-parent, a grandparent may not request visitation, possession and access.

For more thoughts or information about grandparent possession and access, call Leslie Barrows.

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If you would like more information about The Barrows Firm, P.C., please contact the firm by calling (817) 481-1583. The Barrows Firm is located at 700 East Southlake Boulevard in Southlake near the Town Square.

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[i] Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65; 120 S. Ct. 2054, 2060 (2000).

[ii] Texas Attorney General, Senior Texans, Grandparents’ Page.

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