Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Grandparents Seeking Child Custody or Visitation Rights

Despite the important role that grandparents often play in the lives of their grandchildren, most courts, including those in Texas, are reluctant to recognize that role when it comes to child custody determination. The law generally presumes that a child’s best interests are with his or her biological parents. No law protects grandparents’ interests when it comes to custody of their grandchildren, but courts are willing to consider custody and visitation rights for grandparents in certain situations.

Grandparents come into play in a child custody case when a judge finds that neither biological parent would provide an ideal home environment for a child. Situations that give rise to such a finding include the following:

  • Child faces neglect or abuse
  • The biological parents would be unfit due, for example, to substance abuse problems,  criminal activity or domestic abuse
  • Both parents have passed away or are in prison

If a child’s grandparents have filled a void in the child’s life due to one of the problems outlined above, grandparents are more likely to persuade a court to grant them custody or visitation rights. Other blood relatives like the parents’ brothers or sisters may argue for custody, so grandparents will have to put forth their best arguments as to why living with them is in the child’s best interests.

In the absence of one these extenuating circumstances, grandparents will unfortunately not likely play a role concerning their grandchild’s custody determination. Grandparents may try to get both parents to agree to include the grandparents in any court order, but the parents are under no obligation to do so. Finally, if another person or couple adopts the child, grandparents will also ordinarily have no custody or visitation rights.

Are you a grandparent who successfully won child custody or visitation rights for your grandchild? What factors were important in your success?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce attorneys

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