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What Rights Do Grandparents Have to Their Grandchildren?


When Texas couples decide divorce is the right option for them, it affects more than just the two spouses. The kids are affected and so is the extended family. If you are a grandparent and your child and their spouse are divorcing, you may be concerned about how often you will have access to your grandchildren. As children adjust to the changes that come from divorce, good grandparents can be a stabilizing, loving force to help them.

According to FindLaw, grandparents were given a Constitutional right to visit or see their grandchildren, determined by the United States Supreme Court. Visitation often refers to possession or access of a child, otherwise known as visiting or continuing contact. If the parent approves of the visitation and the relationship, there is no concern for the grandparents. If you are not allowed to see your grandchildren, you may file a court order in an attempt to get access to your grandkids.

Courts are picky about what court orders they will hear for grandparents. In general, courts will hear orders if the parent is deceased, found mentally incompetent, does not live with the child or is incarcerated. If both parents died and the child was adopted, or the parents put the child up for adoption, there is no way to file a visitation petition as a grandparent.

If you file a court order, you may obtain visitation if you can prove that it is in the best interest of the child. Along with that, the situation must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Parents neglected or abused the child
  • Parents are divorced
  • Parent has died, been found incompetent or is incarcerated
  • The relationship between the child and one parent has been terminated by the court
  • The child lived with the grandparent for a period of six months or longer

If your situation meets these conditions, you may be entitled to file a court order to obtain visitation. You may also benefit from meeting with an attorney before doing so.

This information is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.