Divorce is always a time of stress and worry, but usually grandparents merely play a supporting role, perhaps provide testimonials to support their respective child’s claims when necessary. But when grandparents believe that their grandchildren suffer under the custody of unfit parents, they take on a more active role.
Grandparents’ rights refer to custody of a grandchild in lieu of one of the biological parents. Typically, grandparents can ask and receive visitation rights in Texas if any of the conditions apply:
- Parents are divorced
- Custodial parent is abusive or neglectful
- Custodial parent is dead, in prison or found incompetent
- The parent-child relationship has been legally terminated by a court
- The grandchild has been in the custody of the grandparent for a minimum of 6 months
It is not at all easy to prove that a parent is unfit or that it is in the best interest of the child to be in the custody of his or her grandparents. This is especially true, according to the legal website Holmes, Diggs & Eames, PLLC, when the custodial parent is resistant. It has to be proven in court that the child’s physical and emotional health is being impaired significantly by being under the continued supervision of the custodial parent.
In Texas, grandparents may sue for custody of a grandchild only if at least one biological or step- parent is alive and has parental rights to the child. Grandparents’ rights are superseded by the rights of an adoptive parent if he or she is a person other than a step-parent, and grandparents may not sue for access or custody to the child.
Once grandparents’ rights have been established, grandparents take on the role of conservators. Financial support may be claimed from both parents for medical and living expenses as this is their legal responsibility.
If you believe that your grandchild is being abused, neglected, or otherwise not being reared in a reasonably healthy environment, then you can assert your rights as a grandparent. Contact a grandparents’ rights attorney to get the wheels started on your petition before more damage to the child is done.