History

As a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision several years ago the law in Texas dealing with grandparents’ rights has been modified several times. Each modification has narrowed the privileges granted to grandparents.

As the law stands today, parents have an absolute right to determine the extent to which a grandparent may or may not have contact with a grandchild. The courts will only override a parent’s decision if the child’s welfare is at risk.

Child Custody Dispute

Unless one or both parents agree to granting custody orders to a grandparent, a grandparent has a very difficult burden to meet. The grandparent must prove to the court that leaving the child under the control of the parents will significantly impair the child’s physical or emotional development. Simplistically stated, either a grandparent must have the consent of a parent or must prove the parents are unfit to handle the responsibilities of raising the child.

Possession Of A Grandchild

A right to have “possession or access” to a child is a step short of having custody – it is what is commonly referred to as a right of visitation.

If a grandparent wants possession or access to a grandchild (not custody orders), a suit may be filed requesting visitation orders. Generally, requests of this type come about when the parents are in the midst of a divorce and one set of grandparents fears that they will be shut out of the child’s life when the divorce is concluded.

Conclusion

Grandparents have very limited rights in Texas and, unless the circumstances are very dire, the decisions made by parents of the child will override the wishes of grandparents.