What are Grandparent’s and Close Relative’s Rights in Texas?

 

The legal rights of Grandparents in Texas is currently in turmoil, and may be one of the most complex and hard to understand areas of family law in Texas today.  Up until the landmark United States Supreme Court case entitled, Troxel v. Granville, of June 5, 2000, grandparents in Texas had liberal rights to sue for custody, possession or access.   Post Troxel case law and recent changes to the Texas Family Code have significantly modified and limited those rights.   It is important for anyone researching grandparent’s rights in Texas to understand that much of the law in this area has changed, not only because of the effect of  Troxel, but also because of significant and far reaching changes to the Texas Family Code in 2005.  Therefore, any older articles or old cases may be outdated and inapplicable to the current law.  It is important that any person interested in obtaining rights to another’s child have a consultation with an experienced Texas family law lawyer.    Gary Kollmeier has the experience to help grandparents keep or establish bonds with their grandchildren.

The relationships between children and their grandparents is important and generally in the best interest of the children.   Unfortunately, these relationships may be strained or eliminated because of divorce, separation or death.  When child custody and child possession is finalized, grandparents often lose the ability to contact and have an influence.   Historically in Texas, Grandparents have stepped in to fill the void in care and nurturing caused by divorce separation, drug and alcohol abuse, or mental illness of the biological parents.   Grandparents can play and important and supporting role to promote stability in the lives of children whose families are in deep conflict.

In a normal situation, there would be no need for court-ordered visitation or custody of children by grandparents. Grandparents and parents would work together to ensure and promote the normal family bonds and visitation by grandparents with grandchildren.   Unfortunately, this if often not the case, when parents separate or divorce.   There may or may no be justified and rational reasons, for a parent(s) to limit a grandparent's visitation with a grandchild.    Usually, when Grandparent’s rights are in issue, the grandparent is in conflict with not only with the parent of the child from the other side of the family, but, usually his or her own adult child, and hence loses contact or influence with the grandchild.    In Texas, a grandparent can always enjoy a relationship with a grandchild providing that at least one parent allow or facilitates the contact.   Sometimes, especially in the case of unmarried or deceased parents, the remaining parent who has custody or control of the child is resistant to allow the grandparent access or visitation.

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Gary Kollmeier
Gary Kollmeier

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