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Can Grandparents File for Custody of Their Grandchildren in Texas?

Posted on in Child Custody

TX family lawyerMany grandparents care deeply for their grandchildren, and it can be difficult for them to see their grandchildren being raised in an environment that they feel is not in the children’s best interests. Even harder is a situation in which the child’s parents prevent a grandparent from spending any time with their grandchild. It is not uncommon for grandparents in these cases to consider pursuing custody of their grandchildren. However, under Texas law, the circumstances under which a grandparent can file a custody suit are actually quite limited. If you find yourself in a dispute of this nature, whether you are the grandparent or the parent, an attorney can help you understand your rights.

Does a Grandparent Have Standing to File a Texas Custody Suit?

The Texas Family Code lists all of the parties that have standing to file a “suit affecting the parent-child relationship,” which includes custody suits. Some of the parties mentioned include the child’s parent, legal guardian, alleged father, or a governmental entity like the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Grandparents, as well as certain other relatives like siblings, aunts, and uncles, can typically file a custody suit only if the child’s parents are both deceased.

However, there are a few other situations in which a grandparent may be able to file a suit even if one or both of the child’s parents are still living. One example is when the grandparent can provide evidence that the child’s current custody and living arrangements are detrimental to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health or development. Another example is when any surviving parents have agreed to allow the grandparent to file suit.

Grandparents can also establish standing to file for custody in certain cases when they have been living with the child. For example, if the grandparent recently had actual care and possession of the child for at least six months, even without an official custody order, they have the grounds to file suit. The same is true if the grandparent lived with the child and one of their parents for six months, and that parent has since passed away.

How Does the Court Handle Grandparent Custody Cases?

Texas courts generally presume that it is in a child’s best interests to remain in the custody of their parent whenever possible, so grandparents who seek to take custody from a parent often face an uphill battle. However, as with all child custody cases in Texas, the child’s best interests are the determining factor in the judge’s decision. Any parties to the case should prepare to present strong evidence supporting their ability to provide for the child’s best interests, and they may also need to prepare for a guardian ad litem to investigate their case.

Contact a Texas Complex Child Custody Attorney

Custody disputes between parents and grandparents are incredibly complicated, both personally and legally. At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, we can help you understand who has standing to file for custody of your child or grandchild, and we can work with you to file a petition and put forth a strong case during litigation. Contact an Austin, TX family law attorney today at 512-610-6199 so we can get started with your case.

 

Source:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.102.htm

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