Divorce is difficult for every member of a Texas family, including the grandparents. When the parents decide to end their marriage, it can lead to a disruption of other important familial relationships, including those with grandparents. As a grandparent hoping to maintain a good relationship with your grandkids, it may be beneficial to learn if you have any legal rights to visitation.
While some families are able to peacefully address grandparent visitation and allow schedules that provide the opportunity for regular visitation, this may not be the case for you. You have to take legal steps to secure access to your grandkids, even if there is clear evidence there is a strong relationship already in place and it would be in the best interests of the children.
What can you do?
You may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of losing access to your grandkids. However, courts recognize the importance of other family members in the life of the child, and sometimes, it is possible to seek and obtain visitation. The courts may consider the following when deciding on grandparent visitation:
- The grandparent's physical abilities to care for and supervise the child
- The needs of the child, emotional welfare and his or her wishes
- Evidence of a strong relationship between grandparents and grandkids
- The child's adjustment to changes in his or her life after the parents' divorce
- Physical distance between the parties
In cases in which there is evidence of substance abuse or other problems with the parents, grandparents may be able to seek custody of their children. There must be evidence of abuse, neglect and harm to the child, as well as evidence of the grandparents' ability to care for the child.
The ultimate goal of any child custody decision is the best interests of the child and his or her continued welfare. If you think you have grounds to seek either visitation, or even custody, this is not a battle you have to fight alone.
How you can protect your rights
If you are unsure of your rights, it can be helpful to start with a complete evaluation of your case. This can help you understand your legal options and how you can pursue an outcome that works well for you and your grandkids. Grandparent rights can be a complex issue, but it is always beneficial to fully understand your entitlements and what you can do to protect this important relationship.