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If I Am a Grandparent, Can I Get Visitation Rights?

 Posted on October 24, 2022 in Family Law

Galveston visitation lawyerGrandparents frequently play a major role in their grandchildren’s lives. This can be especially true when one or both of a child’s parents struggle to maintain a positive parental presence due to criminal behavior, drug abuse, neglect or abuse, or even death. In difficult situations like this, a grandparent’s presence and influence can be an invaluable support system for a child who needs guidance and love.

If this sounds familiar to you, you may be relieved to learn that, in certain situations, grandparents in Texas can petition a court to get visitation rights for their child. If a court awards a grandparent visitation rights, that visitation is enforceable just as it would be for a parent. To learn more, read on and then contact a Galveston grandparents’ rights attorney. 

When Can a Grandparent Get Visitation of a Grandchild in Texas? 

Although grandparents often have good ideas about how to raise children born out of years of experience, differing opinions from a child’s parent or a strong relationship with a child are not sufficient by themselves for a grandparent to be awarded visitation. Before a court can hear a case authorizing grandparent visitation, one of the following must be true: 

  • The child’s parents are divorced 
  • The child has already lived with the grandparent for six months or more
  • One parent is in jail
  • One parent is deceased
  • One parent has been declared incompetent or had their parental rights terminated by a court
  • One parent neglected or abused the child

In addition to one of these things needing to be true, it is important to note that a grandparent cannot be awarded visitation of a grandchild who has been adopted by someone besides a step-parent. 

What Are a Child’s Best Interests? 

Even if one of the above circumstances exists, a court will need to find that grandparent visitation would be in a child’s best interests before it will be awarded. They can look at several factors to determine what would be in the child’s best interests, including: 

  • The circumstances that lead the grandparent to ask for visitation
  • The child’s relationship with the grandparent
  • The reasons the grandparent is being denied visitation 
  • The child’s mental, physical, and emotional health
  • The grandparent’s mental, physical, and emotional health 

These are just a few of the things the court can look at. Note that not all reasons for a grandparent being denied visitation illegitimate; while a grandparent may successfully petition for visitation after reporting the parent for true abuse and having contact cut off as a result, a parent who cuts off contact with a grandparent because of religious differences, inappropriate interference, or even abuse by the grandparent has a good chance of having their decision supported by the court. Because visitation cases can be difficult for the grandparents, parents, and child, it is important to honestly assess the situation and why you are unable to see your grandchild before you bring a case for visitation. 

Call a Galveston County Grandparents’ Rights Lawyer

Attorney Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C., understands how important the grandparent-grandchild relationship can be. If you are struggling to see your grandchild because of your child’s divorce, imprisonment, parental unfitness, or other issue, schedule a free consultation to learn more about what your legal options may be. If you have standing, our Galveston, TX grandparents’ rights lawyer can help you bring a case for visitation or custody. Call 409-392-1511 today. 



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