On behalf of The Law Offices of Mary Ann Beaty, PC posted in Family Law on Wednesday, December 21, 2016.

Grandparents in Texas have some rights to have court-awarded custody rights or visitation of their grandchildren. State law, not the Constitution, awards these grandparents’ rights.

Texas law does not list the factors for a court to determine custody or visitation. However, court considers factors, such as whether the child’s parents are dead, incompetent, in prison or had their parental rights ended.

A court may award visitation if the parents divorced, the child was abused or neglected or a court ruled that the child was a delinquent or needed supervision. Visitation rights may also be awarded when the child resided with the grandparent for at least six months within 24 months of the time visitation petition was filed with the court. Adoption ends a grandparent’s visitation rights, unless a stepparent is awarded adoption.

Courts in Texas, like other states, must make decisions based on the best interest of the child. Generally, this pertains to the child’s physical and emotional health, safety and welfare and the grandparent’s ability to meet these needs. This also includes the strength and length of relationship between the children and the grandparents and where they reside.

Federal law passed in 1980 requires each state to give full faith and credit to child custody orders issued by courts in other states. Courts in each state must all recognize and enforce a court order from another state granting visitation to grandparents, according to a 1998 federal law.

Texas and the other states adopted a version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This requires a court where the child lives to recognize and enforce a custody order issued by a court in another state. If no state issued a custody order, the court in the state where the child resided for a specified time periods may decide custody if at least one parent lives in that state.

An attorney can aid parents and grandparents with these type of family legal issues. Legal representation can help parties pursue their rights and seek a fair reasonable custody or visitation order.

Source: Grandparents.com, “Your guide to grandparent rights,” accessed on Dec. 17, 2016