What grandparents can do to protect visitation with grandkids

Being a grandparent can be one of the most rewarding and joyful times in your life. Often spending quality time with grandchildren during holidays or throughout the year is what grandparents say they look forward to most. Just ask any of them what their grandkids are doing now, and you’re sure to get a wallet (or iPhone) full of pictures and a beaming grandparent talking about the latest activities.

Many grandparents have lots of love and time to give their grandchildren, but things can get sticky during a divorce or separation when visitation comes into question. It may surprise you to know that grandparents have limited, specific legal rights with regard to visitation agreements in Texas.

Grandpa and Grandma seeing their grandkids

Texas courts can determine visitation rights between grandparents and grandchildren in certain situations when doing so is in the best interests of the child. Ask yourself the following:

  • Has one of the parents passed away?
  • Are the parents divorced or in the process of divorcing?
  • Is one or both of the parents unfit to be a guardian at this time?
  • Is a parent in jail?
  • Did the courts terminate the rights of a parent?
  • Did one of the parents give up their parental rights at any point?
  • Has there been abuse or neglect of any of your grandchildren?
  • Is the grandchild in question legally regarded as a delinquent?
  • Does the grandchild need court or state-mandated supervision?
  • Have you had any of your grandchildren living with you for six months?
  • Has a grandchild lived with you within the past 24 months?
  • Is someone (besides a stepparent) adopting any of your grandchildren?
  • Have any of your grandchildren already been adopted?

Depending on your answers to the above questions, you may or may not have a claim to visitation rights. A family law lawyer can help you assess your specific scenario and discuss how to proceed. Knowing what you can do to protect your rights as a grandparent and your relationship with your grandchildren can help ease your mind about the future.

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