Last week's blog addressed a grandparent's potential right to seek custody of grandchildren, explaining the burden of proof required to do so. Today's blog post addresses the far more common situation where there is no significant impairment to the physical health or emotional development of the child, but rather that the parents of the child simply won't allow the grandparent to have occasional access and visits with the children. In Texas, this is know as "grandparent access". Today's blog post will address a grandparent's access rights.
To have the right to seek grandparent access, the grandparent must file a lawsuit, attaching a sworn affidavit setting forth the facts of the case. The facts must establish that denial of possession or access by the grandparent would significantly impair the physical health or emotional well-being of the grandchild. For grandparents that have bonded with the grandchildren and have had a consistent, ongoing relationship with the grandchildren, Courts often determine that denial of that ongoing relationship would significantly impair the physical health or emotional development of the grandchildren. If the grandparent has a criminal history, drug history, or history of unexplained inconsistency in the relationship with the grandchildren, Courts often deny court-ordered grandparent access. Another important aspect of a grandparent access case involves a showing that, without a court order, the grandparent would not have access. Courts often focus on the relationship between the grandparents and their children (the parents of the grandchildren), looking for evidence that the parents of the children have and will continue to permit access without the need for a Court order. This is important because often, parents allow some access, but not as much as the grandparents would like. In situations like this, Courts often deny the grandparents court-ordered access and leave the parents' complete discretion to determine the frequency and type of contact allowed.
If you are a grandparent whose access to your grandchildren has been denied or curtailed, you have important legal rights and remedies available to you. The family law attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm have extensive experience handling grandparent access cases. For additional information about your legal rights, contact the family law attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio.