Do grandparents have the right to visit with their grandchildren?

Grandparents -- as a matter of federal law -- do not have a Constitutional right to spend time with their grandchildren, so if the parent doesn't want the grandparent to be around his or her child, the parent can prevent it. In most cases, the same rule applies under Texas law: The parents can nix grandparent visitations if they choose.

However, in special circumstances, Texas grandparents might sway a state family law court to issue an order granting them visitation rights.

When can Texas grandparents file for visitation rights?

If the parents object to grandparent visitations, the grandparents will have a difficult time getting their petition for visitation into court, but if one of the following circumstances arises, the grandparents may be able to pursue the visitation rights they desire:

One of the parents is mentally incompetent: If one of the parents suffers from mental incompetence or psychological illness, a court may deem that the parent lacks the capacity or ability to lucidly decide whether the grandparents should have the right to visit with their grandchildren.

One of the parents is incarcerated: A court may deem that it's in the best interests of the child to visit with grandparents if the parent has been incarcerated.

One of the parents is deceased: A court may rule that the other parent cannot prevent the children from visiting with grandparents from the deceased parent's side of the family.

If one parent doesn't live with the children: If one parent doesn't live with the child or children -- and especially if that parent doesn't have visitation rights -- the grandparents may be able to pursue a case to visit with the child.

When will the grandparents win visitation rights?

After filing for visitation rights, the grandparents will only prevail if the court deems that the visits are (1) in the child's best interests and (2) one of the following is true:

  • The parents are divorced;
  • The parents were guilty of abuse or neglect;
  • One parent is deceased, incompetent or incarcerated;
  • The court stripped one parent of parental rights; and
  • The grandparents have lived with the child for a minimum of six months.

Do you want to secure the right to spend time with your grandchildren?

If you're a grandparent who is desperate to secure the right to spend time with your grandchildren, do not give up until you've thoroughly examined all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. If you diligently work toward this goal, you may be able to gain the legal access you desire.

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