Grandparents Can Take Legal Action to Gain Access to the Children of Divorce

April 28, 2017 Posted in Divorce, Our Blog

Even after divorce, parents generally recognize the importance of providing their children with quality time with both sets of grandparents. Unfortunately, the contentious nature of divorce sometimes causes parents to unreasonably limit or prohibit this type of access. Unless valid reasons exist for severing ties, an experienced Dallas family law attorney can help grandparents reconnect with their grandchildren on a regular — or even permanent — basis.

Texas Grandparents Can Pursue Certain Legal Rights to Their Grandchildren

The statutes relating to the rights of grandparents related to anything from visitation rights to full possession are detailed in Subchapter H of the TX Family Code. The law covers everything from seeking conservatorship (commonly known as custody) to gaining regular visitation time with the children.

The law can become quite complex when it comes to decisions that meet the best interests of the children, but some key points pertaining to biological or adoptive grandparents (along with aunts and uncles) are as follows:

  • They can seek appointment as managing conservators when both parents are deceased; however, the courts have ultimate discretionary powers in these decisions.
  • Even when they do not have conservatorship, they can pursue access to grandchildren through the courts.
  • The best interests of the children governs judicial decisions.

Every set of family circumstances is unique. As a general rule, grandparents must show by a preponderance of evidence that their lack of presence in the children’s lives would significantly impair their grandchildren’s physical health or emotional wellbeing. In some particularly-challenging cases, these concerns must override the reasons why the parents want to terminate all contact that their children have with their grandparents.

Texas Law Does Not Guarantee Grandparent Access Rights

There are, of course, many valid reasons why parents might want to protect their children by severing contact with one or more grandparents. However, divorced parents sometimes carry the residual emotional issues from the divorce into the decisions they make, particularly pertaining to visitation by an ex-spouse’s parents.

All too often, parental decisions made due to the contentious and emotional issues experienced during divorce can have a significant impact on the children. The special bond enjoyed by grandparents and their grandchildren should not be severed simply because the parents can no longer live together.

When grandparents believe that their continued relationship with the grandchildren is in the best interests of the children, they should seek legal advice. Contact us to learn about any legal options that might preserve this special bond.