When Dallas residents think about relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren, they probably think of love and laughter. They think of the support and wisdom grandparents can impart that often stick with grandchildren for a lifetime. Truly, the grandparent-grandchild relationship is something special and unique.

Unfortunately, parents sometimes seek to sever the bond between their children and the grandparents. Perhaps there has been a bitter divorce and the custodial parent does not want his or her ex’s parents (the child’s grandparents) to be a part of their new life. Or perhaps the grandparents have made allegations of abuse or neglect against a parent, and the parent retaliates by cutting off their access to the child. Life can present any number of difficult, messy and even painful or dangerous situations, but grandparents in Dallas do have legal rights of their own vis-à-vis their grandchildren.

For one thing, grandparents have the right to pursue a court order for visitation of their grandchildren if they’ve been denied by the parents. The court will consider whether such an order is in the grandchild’s best interest. Importantly, the court will need to confirm that certain circumstances exist, including that either the child’s parents have divorced; he or she has lived for a minimum of six months with the grandparents; the child has been neglected or abused at the hands of the parent; or a number of other possible conditions permitting an order for grandparent visitation. The full list can be found on the Texas Attorney General’s web page for grandparents.

Note that one of those conditions — grandchildren living with the grandparents for an extended period — can also establish a grandparent’s right to seek custody of the grandchildren. Besides the legal recognition and security this affords, it means that grandparents can request child support from the child’s non-custodial parents. This can be vital for the children, considering grandparents are often beyond working age and living on fixed incomes not intended to support anyone beyond themselves.

The Texas Attorney General’s page provides some additional information about organizations that can help grandparents. A legal professional can also prove to be a crucial resource for those seeking to potentially exercise any of their legal rights as grandparents.