When you became a grandparent, you never expected the day would come that you would be looking for a family lawyer to get visitation rights with your grandchildren. Whether something in your relationship with your child or the other parent of your grandchild went wrong, or some other life situation caused estrangement, you need legal help because you want or need to obtain some kind of legal access to your grandchild over the objections of a parent of the child.
What You Need to Prove in Texas for Grandparents’ Visitation Rights
Although one might think that the bar for grandparents’ visitation would fall below the requirement to seek custody of a grandchild, that bar is just as high as the one for seeking custody. It is also correct to say that the obstacles that one must overcome before even having the legal right to file a case (also called standing), to seek visitation are numerous.
Before you even have the right to seek assistance from the court in the form of court-ordered visitation, you must attach to your request filed with the court a sworn statement that says that if your allegations are taken as true, denial of your access to your grandchild would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. If you cannot meet this requirement, the court must deny the relief you request and dismiss your suit without a further inquiry or hearing.
Once you have made it past the standing issue, your next task is to show that you meet at least one of the following criteria:
- At least one biological or adoptive parent of the child has not had that parent’s parental rights terminated. This means either your child or the other parent (or both) must not have had their parental rights terminated.
- You, the grandparent requesting access, must overcome the presumption that the parent denying you access is acting in the best interest of the child. You must overcome this presumption by showing that not allowing you court-ordered access to your grandchild would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. This is the same hurdle you had to clear to prove standing, but now the parent denying you access gets an opportunity to disprove what you put in your affidavit to get to this point.
- You, the grandparent requesting access, must show that your child:
- Is incarcerated in jail or prison during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition
- Has been found by a court to be incompetent
- Is deceased
- Does not have actual or court-ordered access to the child
Fighting for visitation with your grandchildren takes a lot of sustained effort and legal expertise. The team of attorneys at Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson is well poised to fight in your corner so you can get visitation rights with your grandchildren.