Fabio & Merrill

What are grandparents’ rights?

As a proud Texas grandparent, you probably do everything you can to stay involved in the lives of your grandchildren. However, situations occur where the children’s parents may keep them from you and not allow you to visit with them or be involved in their lives. In a situation like this, you should inquire about grandparents’ rights.

Grandparents’ rights vary from state to state, according to the American Grandparents Association. Understanding your rights means understanding Texas law. Some states have lenient laws where courts can step in if it is believed the children will benefit from a relationship with the grandparents. Texas is actually a bit stricter in its laws.

In this state, your rights to visitation are not automatic and usually left up to the parents to decide without court intervention. However, the law does recognize situations where the presence of a grandparent in a child’s life would be beneficial. These include if the child is a delinquent or has been abused or neglected. If a parent is incarcerated, dies or deemed incompetent, you may also be entitled to visitation rights. When parental rights are terminated, you have the ability to seek custody as well. Finally, if your grandchildren have been living with you within the last 24 months for at least six of those months, you have the right to visitation.

Do note that if the parents voluntarily give up their rights so that their child can be adopted, you also lose all rights to that child. The only exception is in the case of a step parent adoption. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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