Grandparents often develop close, nurturing relationships with their grandchildren. Sadly, if the relationship between a grandparent and the children’s parent sours, the parent might deny the grandparent access to their grandchildren. Some grandparents never get to know their grandchildren because of tension with their parents.
Another tragic situation occurs if parents cannot care for their children properly and a social services agency removes the children from the parents’ home. In such cases, grandparents might wish to assume custody of the children or at least be able to maintain contact with them.
If you do not have access to your grandchildren for any reason, consult with a Wells Branch grandparents’ rights lawyer at Angela Faye Brown & Associates. A seasoned family attorney could help you explore your legal options for maintaining contact with your grandchildren.
Courts give parents broad authority to decide who may have contact with their children. This is bad news for grandparents whose estranged children have cut off or never allowed contact with the grandchildren. The law does not afford grandparents a right to see or have a relationship with their grandchildren if the parents object.
A grandparent who wishes to have a relationship with their grandchild could focus on repairing the relationship with the grandchildren’s parents. If the parents are willing, pastoral counseling, family therapy, mediation, or another form of alternative dispute resolution might help the grandparents and parents resolve their issues and perhaps allow the grandparents access to the grandchildren. A Wells Branch grandparents’ rights attorney could share resources for family dispute resolution services with a grandparent in this position.
Many grandparents seek custody of their grandchildren if the parents have financial problems, issues with mental health or addiction, or other obstacles that prevent them from providing a safe and healthy environment. Grandparents and the grandchildren’s parents might agree that the grandparents should care for the children temporarily.
In such cases, a grandparent could seek conservatorship of the child with parental consent. Conservatorship allows the grandparent to provide the child’s home and make decisions about their education, medical care, religion, discipline, and other matters. The conservator also has access to the child’s school and medical records.
A grandparent may also petition a court for conservatorship over parental objection if they could prove that living with the parent poses a significant risk of harm to the child’s physical or emotional health. A grandparents’ rights lawyer in Wells Branch could help a grandparent prepare a petition establishing that remaining in a parent’s care endangers the child.
Sadly, sometimes grandparents cannot provide full-time care for their grandchildren, but the children are not in their parents’ care because one or both parents died, is incarcerated, or child protective services removed the children from their care. In such cases, grandparents have the right to seek visitation with their grandchildren. Texas Family Code §153.433 allows a grandparent to seek visitation with a grandchild if the grandparent’s child:
However, timing is critical. Grandparents lose this right if the parental rights of the child’s living parent(s) have been terminated.
A petition seeking visitation under this provision requires the grandparent to establish that denying access would cause harm to the child. A grandparent who had little contact with a child prior to seeking visitation could have trouble proving that continued lack of contact would harm the child. However, depending on the circumstances, a determined legal professional in Wells Branch could compile evidence showing the child’s best interest is served by having a nurturing relationship with extended family.
It is a tragedy when grandparents cannot develop and maintain a relationship with their grandchildren. Although parents have the right to deny grandparents access, legal and other remedies might be available to you, depending on the circumstances.
Discussing your situation with a Wells Branch grandparents’ rights lawyer could help you understand your legal options and choose a strategy. Reach out to the legal team at Angela Faye Brown & Associates now to schedule a consultation.