There are few things as powerful as the love of a grandparent for his or her grandchildren. You probably love your grandkids and want the best for them. You would do anything to protect them, even having them come to live with you if your child is unwilling or unable to provide for them. The bond you share is powerful, but you may find yourself wondering what legal rights you have.
In situations where the parents are unable to provide for minor children, typically the state of Texas will eventually get involved. Although you may have an informal agreement with your child or the other parent of your grandkids, that doesn't mean that the agreement will stand if the state ends that person's parental rights. Thankfully, the state of Texas, unlike many other states, recognizes the rights of grandparents in many situations.
Grandparents can seek custody in certain situations
If your grandchildren have been orphaned or if the state has removed them from their parents' home, you may be able to serve as their temporary guardian. When kids need to get placed in foster care, family members who meet requirements set by the state have an opportunity to open their homes to these displaced children. If the state goes so far as to terminate parental rights for both biological parents, you may even be able to adopt your grandchildren.
Typically, these situations are easier to work out if the kids have previously lived with you for six months or longer. In that situation, Texas will absolutely consider the bond that has developed between you and the children. Usually, it is in the best interest of children to maintain and develop strong bonds with family members. The family courts usually recognize this when making placement decisions.
You may have a right to visitation
If you have social, financial or medical factors that preclude you from seeking custody of your grandchildren, you do still have the right to seek visitation. Again, this is particularly true in cases where the children have lived with you for at least six months. Whether they get placed with foster parents, in a group home or with a relative on the other side of the family, you have the right to seek visitation.
It's important to note that this right isn't an absolute right. There are many situations in which you may not get visitation rights. These could include a situation where your grandchildren get adopted by someone other than a stepparent.However, before you give up on maintaining that precious connection, you should explore all of your options to remain in the lives of your grandchildren. Just because your child has lost custody doesn't have to mean you'll never see your grandchildren again.