Legal Representation for Houston Grandparents Seeking to Gain Custody
Grandparents often play an important role in the lives of children, especially when they’re young and just starting to attend school. Many grandparents in Texas provide childcare for young children while parents are at work, and may contribute to child-rearing during school vacations. Many grandparents house, clothe, and feed their grandchildren, and are a big part of their upbringing. Despite the diverse role grandparents play in the lives of children today, they have limited rights regarding caring for their grandkids in Texas.
A grandparent who wishes to gain custody of their grandchildren or acquire visitation rights must go through the court. There are numerous reasons why a grandparent may desire custody of and visitation with their grandchildren. You must petition the court through a lawsuit to secure your chances of obtaining these rights. Your chances of receiving a favorable decision heavily rely on working with a competent lawyer for grandparents’ rights in Houston.
When does the court award custody of grandchildren in Houston, TX?
In Texas family court, custody is called permanent managing conservatorship (PMC). A judge may appoint PMC to a person who may be legally responsible for a child without going through the adoption process. A grandparent may seek permanent managing conservatorship of a child by filing a lawsuit when:
- You were your grandchild’s caregiver for at least six or more months, but not more than 90 days before filing the lawsuit
- Your grandchild and his guardian, conservator, or parent lived with you for a minimum of six months but not more than 90 days before filing the lawsuit (if the guardian, conservator, or parent died before you filed a lawsuit)
- Your grandchild’s current living situation is likely to put them in harm’s way
- Both of the child’s parents, the surviving parent, or the managing conservator filed the lawsuit for you to have PMC or consented to it
Keep in mind that the 90-day window establishes to the court that the six months you cared for your grandchild happened recently rather than years ago during a different living situation. Grandparents may also join in on other lawsuits regarding custody and visitation of their grandchildren.
How Can a Grandparent Acquire Visitation Rights to See their Grandchildren in Houston, TX?
Even though grandparents often play a crucial role in supporting their grandchildren, they do not have the right to spend time with them unless they meet strict criteria. Texas law does not provide rights to grandparents of children whose parents divorced or separated to access their grandchildren. To receive visitation, you must petition the court by filing a lawsuit. You can do so when all three of the following elements are true:
- The court terminated the rights of at least one biological parent
- You can demonstrate to the court that denying you visitation with your grandchild would hurt them emotionally and/or physically
- You are the parent of one of your grandchild’s parents
In addition, one of the next four elements must be true:
- The child’s parent was incarcerated during the three months preceding the lawsuit
- The court found the parent to be incompetent
- The parent passed away
- The parent does not have actual or court-ordered access to your grandchild
It can be challenging to make sure you meet the necessary criteria for gaining grandparent rights in Texas. Work with a knowledgeable attorney to protect your interests and help you do what’s best for your grandchild.
Trustworthy Attorneys Advocating for Grandparent Rights in Houston, TX
Attorneys with Stepp & Sullivan PC have been helping families work through legal issues for more than 70 years. We are a full-service law firm with experience representing clients throughout Houston for more than 35 years. Our mission is to help you overcome legal issues, advocate for your best interests, and fight for what you deserve. Call (713) 804-4784 for a consultation regarding your grandparents’ rights case or complete our contact form.