It may be easy to schedule visits with your grandchildren when their parents have a stable relationship with each other and with you. If divorce enters the picture, however, you may have to take legal action in order to secure your right to visit or gain custody of your grandchildren.
The laws governing grandparents’ custody and visitation rights are different in each state. Fortunately, Texas law allows a court to authorize your visits to your grandchildren provided those visits are in the grandchildren’s best interest.
Visitation rights depend on various circumstances
According to the Texas Attorney General’s website, there are several circumstances that may make it possible for you to petition a court for the right to visit your grandchildren. One of the most common situations is when your grandchildren’s parents get divorced. You may also seek visitation if there is parental abuse of your grandchildren or in the event of parental death. If a court terminates the parental rights of your grandchildren’s mother or father, you may be able to request visitation.
Adoption may complicate your visitation request. If your grandchild gets adopted by someone other than his or her step-parent, you may not be able to petition for visitation rights.
You may seek legal custody of your grandchildren
If your grandchildren have lived with you for a certain period of time, you may be able to apply for custody instead of simple visitation rights. If you are able to get custody of your grandchildren, you may become eligible for child support benefits to offset some of the costs. Having custody of your grandchildren gives you the responsibility of caring for them, making health care decisions, and providing for their education.