Grandparents play a crucial role in the lives of their grandchildren. However, when relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren become strained, grandparents may find themselves seeking court-ordered visitation rights. The good news is that Texas law recognizes the importance of grandparent-grandchild relationships and provides grandparents with legal options to pursue visitation rights. However, obtaining these rights can be difficult, and it is presumed that the parent’s decision to deny visitation is in the child’s best interest. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the Texas Family Code sections that apply to grandparent visitation rights and how they impact grandparents’ ability to obtain visitation rights.
Circumstances for Filing Suit
To seek court-ordered visitation rights, grandparents can file a suit under Section 153.432 of the Texas Family Code. This section outlines the circumstances under which a grandparent may file a suit, including when the child’s parent has been divorced or separated from the other parent, deceased, incarcerated, found incompetent, or declared missing by a court, or had their parental rights terminated.
Factors Considered by the Court
When deciding whether to grant grandparent visitation, the court must consider factors in Section 153.433 of the Texas Family Code, including the nature of the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild, the effect on the child’s well-being, and the effect on the parent-child relationship. The court may also consider other relevant factors. However, it is important to note that the presumption is that a parent’s decision to deny grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interest.
Meeting the Burden of Proof
Grandparents seeking court-ordered visitation must meet the burden of proof outlined in Section 153.434 of the Texas Family Code. To establish that grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interest, the grandparent must demonstrate that denial of visitation would significantly harm the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. The grandparent must also demonstrate that they have had a substantial and ongoing relationship with the grandchild and that the child’s best interest would be served by granting visitation.
Termination or Modification of Visitation Rights
Section 153.435 of the Texas Family Code outlines the circumstances under which a grandparent’s visitation rights may be terminated or modified. For example, visitation rights may be terminated if the grandparent poses a danger to the child or if it is no longer in the child’s best interest to continue the visitation.
It’s important to note that obtaining grandparent visitation rights can be difficult. Texas law strongly favors a parent’s right to make decisions regarding their child’s upbringing, including visitation. Additionally, the burden of proof is on the grandparent, and it can be challenging to demonstrate that denying visitation would significantly harm the child’s well-being.
Contact the Blacknall Firm
At the Blacknall Firm, we understand the complexities of grandparent visitation cases and are here to help. Our experienced family law attorneys can guide you through the legal process and help you protect your relationship with your grandchild.
To discuss retaining our firm for your divorce or child custody case, please schedule a consultation with us today.