When grandparents choose to file for custody: A basic guide

Grandparents have certain rights to their grandchildren, and in some cases, may be able to seek custody of their grandkids.

Grandparents play a crucial role in the lives of their grandchildren. While some grandparents fill a more traditional role of pampering and mentoring their grandchildren, other grandparents are forced to take on greater responsibilities. In some instances, a grandparent may be needed to act as a legal guardian or conservator to their grandchildren. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 5.6 million children in the country are being raised by their grandparents. When Texas grandparents are in a situation where they feel like gaining custody of their grandchild would be in the child's best interest, they may want to file for custody in a Texas court of law.

When can a grandparent ask for custody?

According to Texas state statute, grandparents are generally able to seek custody of a grandchild under certain circumstances. If the parent is unable to properly care for the child or if he or she has passed away, the grandparent may file for custody. Also, grandparents can seek custody when parents are currently incarcerated or have spent time in jail during the three-month period prior to the grandparent filing for custody. When a child has been living with his or her grandparents for at least six months and his or her parents have terminated their rights to the child or the child's parents do not have actual or court ordered possession of the child, there is a good chance that the grandparent could be granted custody of the child. Texas officials attempt to make custodial decisions based off of what is best for the children who are involved.

Getting custody

Unless the child's parents voluntarily signs over their parental rights to the grandma or grandpa, the grandparent will need to file a custody suit for the grandchild. After the paperwork is submitted, the judge presiding over the case will look at key factors such as:

  • Is the child in danger?
  • Is the child's home safe and stable?
  • Have the child's parents committed any crimes?
  • Are the child's parents giving excuses as to why things are the way they are?
  • Where would the child's emotional and physical needs be best met?

It can be difficult to prove that a child should be taken out of his or her home away from a parent and be given to a grandparent. That is why it is important that grandparents seeking custody of their grandchildren have an organized legal plan in place.

Organizing a legal team

If you are a grandparent who is desperately trying to receive custody of your precious grandchildren, you may want to speak with a family law attorney in Texas. Not only will an attorney help to clear up any unanswered questions you may have, but a lawyer may be helpful during your walk through the legal process.

Keywords: grandparent, rights, custody, child, divorce