Can I Take Custody of My Grandchild?

Can I Take Custody of My Grandchild

Are you a grandparent that has concerns about the quality of care your grandchildren are receiving? Are you looking to gain custody of them? If so, below is a basic understanding of how the law works surrounding grandparents right and their ability to take custody. For more detailed information contact Renken Law Firm in Houston.

When can a grandparent obtain custody of a grandchild?

Parents’ rights to rear and raise their own children are one of the oldest and most fundamental rights. A court can’t interfere with the parent-child relationship unless a parent is unable to meet the child’s basic physical and emotional needs. Thus, a grandparent can only obtain custody of a grandchild when:

  • the grandchild’s current home environment presents a serious concerns regarding the grandchild’s physical and emotional welfare, or
  • one or both parents has consented to a change in custody.

A grandparent may seek custody by intervening in a custody action filed by the state or by the parents. Grandparents don’t have standing to bring original custody suits against a grandchild’s parents. Instead, a grandparent’s request for custody must be filed as part of an existing custody case.

A grandparent’s rights over a grandchild are always secondary to a parent’s rights. However, a child’s best interests will determine if an award of custody to a grandparent is appropriate. Although a parent’s rights to a child are significant, a parent’s own actions can result in a termination of those rights.

Can a biological grandparent obtain visitation with an adopted child?

Adoption is a permanent termination of a parent’s rights to a child. Grandparent rights come through a parent’s rights. Thus, adoption severs a grandparent’s ability to seek visitation with a grandchild. One exception is in the case of stepparent adoption. However, even then, a grandparent must still prove that visitation serves the grandchild’s best interests and doesn’t substantially interfere with the stepparent-child relationship.

A grandparent plays a special role in a grandchild’s life. Both children and their parents benefit from involved grandparents. However, in cases where parents divorce or separate, a grandparent’s contact with a grandchild may be quickly cut off. Yet, there is legal recourse for grandparents who want to maintain contact with a grandchild. If you have additional questions about grandparent visitation rights in Texas, contact a local family law attorney for advice.

Grandparent Visitation in Texas

Under Texas law, grandparent visitation rights are well established. A grandparent can petition the court to establish visitation rights with a grandchild or to modify an existing visitation order. Before a judge will award visitation privileges, the grandparent must prove that visitation is in the child’s best interests. Specifically, Texas’ grandparent statute allows visitation (also called access) when:

  • at least one biological or adoptive parent still has parental rights over the child
  • the grandparent seeking visitation shows that a denial of grandparent visitation would harm the child’s physical health or emotional well- being, and
  • the grandparent seeking visitation is the parent of the child’s parent, and the child’s parent:
  • has been incarcerated in jail for at least three (3) months
  • has been declared mentally incompetent by a court
  • has died, or
  • does not have actual or court-ordered visitation with the child.

Grandparents Rights Attorney in Houston, TX

Working with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can help you to navigate the complexities of court ordered visitation or access to a grandchild. As a general starting point, it should be noted that the United States Supreme Court has ruled that grandparents do not have a Constitutional right to see or visit grandchildren. This is based on the general presumption that since parents have an automatic right to determine the best interests of their children, they are entitled to decide who does or does not have contact with their children.

In Texas, grandparents rights generally refers to access or possession of a child. As long as a parent approves, grandparents can usually visit their grandchildren at any time. However, problems arise when parents restrict grandparents’ visitation or contact with the grandchildren. Since Texas law does not legally entitle them to see their grandchildren, some grandparents may choose to try and get a court order allowing visitation.

This can be difficult to do on your own. If you are a grandparent trying to gain further access or custody of your grandchild, reach out to the attorneys at Renken Law Firm. We work with you to promote the best interests of the child or children involved on a long term basis.

Affordable Family Lawyer in Houston, TX

Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.


Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
(713) 956-6767
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