Grandparents in Texas may want to pursue formal custody or visitation with their grandchildren through the court. Sometimes, this is because the child’s parents are unable to care for the child or cannot provide him or her with a stable living environment.
While grandparents do not have an automatic right to custody or visitation, they can request it if they believe it is in the best interest of the child. The court may grant it if it also finds that it is in the child’s best interest and the child’s parents are divorced, if they abused or neglected the child, they are incompetent, incarcerated or if they have passed away.
The court may also grant visitation or custody if there is a court order that terminated the parent’s relationship with the child and where the child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months.
Best interest of the child
The court may consider several factors when determining the best interest of the child. It may review the needs of the child, including his or her physical and emotional health, how capable the grandparents are of meeting the child’s needs, the child’s preference if he or she is old enough to decide and the length of the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild.
Also, the court may review how the visitation or custody will affect the child’s relationship with his or her school and community, the distance between the grandparent and the child and the ability of the grandparent to provide the child with love and affection.
If grandparents have questions about pursuing visitation or custody, an experienced family law attorney can help.