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Grandparents' rights under Texas law for possession or access

There are situations in Texas in which a dispute arises as to whether a child should live with a parent or a grandparent. When it comes to custody of, or access to, a grandchild, Texas courts can award either to the grandparent if the required conditions are met. Grandparents and parents who are embroiled in a disagreement regarding the grandparents' rights need to understand this law.

The following circumstances are the basis for a grandparent seeking to have possession or access. When the grandparents seek this form of relief, at least one of the child's adoptive or biological parents must not have had his or her parental rights terminated. The grandparent who makes a legal request for custody or access must overcome the presumption that the parent is acting in the child's best interests and that denying the grandparent would impair the child's emotional well-being or physical health.

The grandparent who is making the request must be the parent of a parent of the child and the parent must: be incarcerated in prison or jail for the three months before the filing; be declared incompetent by the court; be deceased; or not have possession of or access to the child.

If the parent objects to the grandparent being given possession or access, the grandparent must show that: when the relief was requested, one biological or adoptive parent did not have the rights terminated; the grandparent has overcome a presumption that the parent is acting in the child's best interests; and that the grandparent is the parent of the child and the above-listed criteria of incarceration, incompetence, death or failure to have possession are in place.

There are many reasons why a grandparent would seek to have custody or access to a child. The law is clear on why this may be allowed and the various circumstances that must be in place for the grandparents to gain custody or access. With these complicated family law issues, one of the keys is to have assistance from an experienced attorney from the start.

Source: Texas Family Code, "153.433. Possession Of Or Access To Grandchild," accessed on Jan. 25, 2016

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