Difficult circumstances can wreak havoc in the lives of Texas families, and grandparents may find that they have little or no voice in decisions involving their grandchildren. Divorce, death, and adoption can significantly alter family dynamics, in some cases completely severing the relationship between children and grandparents. However, there are some cases in which grandparents' interests are given serious consideration by the court system.
Each state determines its own standards related to visitation and child custody for grandparents, but visitation guidelines tend to be more specific than those for custody cases. A child's parental relationships are of primary importance in custody scenarios, and one of the strongest cases for a grandparent to obtain custody is the death of both of their grandchild's parents. If one of the parents is alive, the court system will typically try to facilitate that parent's continued custody of their child. However, issues such as unfitness could strengthen a grandparent's case for seeking custody.
Pursuing an interest in visitation rights may require that certain conditions are in place. For example, a grandparent might have a strong argument for these rights if their own child, the parent of the grandchild in question, has died. The marital status of the child's living parents could play a role if the child previously resided with the grandparent at some point. Although certain statutory conditions are necessary for a visitation case brought by a grandparent to proceed, the grandparent must provide evidence that demonstrates that their visitation will be in the best interests of their grandchild.
A family member wanting to protect a young relative from a negligent parent might face difficulties in seeking custody. However, a lawyer might provide helpful tips for understanding the types of parental issues that would warrant such action.