Texas grandparents can file for visitation rights to their grandchildren in a few different circumstances. If the parents are divorced, a parent is dead or the parents are incarcerated or declared incompetent, grandparents can file for visitation. If the child has been neglected or abused by the parent or the parent-child relationship has been ended by court order, this may also be grounds for grandparents' visitation. However, if someone has adopted the child who is not the child's stepparent, grandparents do not have visitation rights.
If the child has been living with grandparents for at least six months, the grandparents can also apply for visitation, but in such a case, the grandparents may want to apply for child custody instead. In order to do so, it is necessary to either file a lawsuit or intervene in an existing lawsuit regarding custody.
While courts in cases involving children are typically guided by the best interests of the child, if there a conflict between parents and grandchildren, they will consider both the relationship between the child and the grandparents and the parents' rights. Ultimately, federal law considers it the parents' right to decide who sees their children, and grandparents' visitation is not recognized as a constitutional right.
Grandparents who are concerned about maintaining access to their grandchildren may wish to consult an attorney. Some grandparents may have strong bonds with their grandchildren even if they do not live together, and if grandparents can demonstrate the strength of that bond, a court may rule in favor of visitation. If the child expresses a desire to see or live with their grandparents, this may also influence the court's decision.