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How Are Grandparents' Visitation Rights Affected by Divorce?

 Posted on August 24, 2023 in Divorce

Hurst grandparents' rights lawyerDivorce can be a difficult process for everyone involved. In addition to the spouses and their children, other family members may also be affected, including grandparents. Depending on the decisions made about child custody, grandparents may be concerned about whether they will be able to spend time with their grandchildren or whether a parent may take actions that could cause harm to family relationships. Fortunately, Texas law allows grandparents to request visitation with their grandchildren. By understanding how grandparents’ rights are affected by a divorce, families can determine their best options for maintaining important relationships.

The Importance of Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships

Research has shown that strong bonds with grandparents and other extended family members can greatly benefit children's social, emotional, and psychological well-being. Grandparents often play vital roles in supporting and nurturing their grandchildren. They can provide stability and love throughout challenging times. In recognition of the importance of grandparent-grandchild relationships, Texas law allows grandparents to request visitation with grandchildren under certain circumstances.

Texas Statutes on Grandparent Visitation

While grandparents are not automatically given the right to have a relationship with their grandchildren, they are allowed to request visitation on an ongoing basis. Texas Family Code Section 153.433 states that a family court judge may order visitation for grandparents if this would be in the best interests of the child. If a parent has refused to allow their child to spend time with the grandparents, the grandparents will need to demonstrate that the refusal would have a negative effect on the child’s physical or emotional health and well-being. 

In general, grandparents can request visitation in the following situations:

  • A parent has been held in prison for at least three months.

  • A parent has been deemed incompetent by a family court.

  • A parent has died.

  • A parent does not have any visitation rights toward their child.

Grandparents cannot request visitation if both of a grandchild’s parents have died or have had their parental rights terminated. However, in these situations, grandparents may be able to request legal custody of a grandchild, and by seeking to become the child’s conservator, a grandparent can ensure that the child will be raised by a close family member. Visitation will also be denied if the child has been adopted by someone other than a stepparent.

Factors Considered by Courts in Grandparent Visitation Cases

Texas courts may take several factors into account when determining whether granting grandparent visitation is in the child's best interest. These may include:

  • The grandparent’s previous relationship with the grandchild.

  • The effect that denying visitation will have on the child's emotional well-being, physical health, and other aspects of their life.

  • The grandchild’s preferences if they are of significant age and maturity (usually over 12 years old).

  • Any evidence of substance abuse or domestic violence by a parent or grandparent.

Courts will usually prioritize the parents' decisions regarding their children. That is, parents are presumed to be able to make decisions about what would be in their children’s best interests, and parental rights will generally supersede grandparents' visitation rights. To overcome this presumption, grandparents will need to provide evidence showing that the ability to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren is necessary to protect the child’s best interests.

Contact Our Hurst Grandparents’ Rights Attorney

If you are a grandparent who is concerned about how your child’s divorce will affect your relationship with your grandchildren, Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. can advise you on the best steps you can take to protect your rights as a grandparent. We will work with you to request visitation rights and ensure that you will be able to maintain a close, ongoing relationship while providing for your grandchildren’s needs and best interests. Contact our Tarrant County grandparent visitation lawyer at 817-498-4105 to arrange a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.




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