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A grandparent's right to custody and visitation

A Texas court may grant custody or visitation rights to a grandparent, if the judge finds that it is in the best interests of the child. It is important to note that Texas statutes do not grant grandparents the absolute right to visitation, and certain circumstances must exist in order for a request to be successfully granted.

A grandparent may also file a suit asking for custody if the grandparent believes that it is in the best interests of the child. A court in Texas may grant such custody under specific circumstances such as parental abuse or neglect of the child, if the parents are divorced, if the child has lived with the grandparent for a minimum of six months or under other circumstances. A grandparent who is given physical custody of a grandchild may also apply for child support. Under state and federal law, a child's parents have an obligation to provide medical and financial support for their children.

The law takes a different view of grandparents' rights with respect to a grandchild than it does with respect to the child's parents. A lawyer with a background in family law can evaluate a grandparent's situation and relationship with his or her grandchild to figure out whether the grandparent may have grounds to request either visitation or custody.

If the grandparent wishes to move forward with a petition for either visitation or custody, such a lawyer may provide representation in family court on behalf of the grandparent. If the judge agrees that having visitation or living with his or her grandparent is in the child's best interests, then it is likely that the grandparent's request will be granted.

Source: Texas Attorney General, "Grandparents' Page", accessed on Jan. 19, 2015

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