Grandparents often serve as important role models for children, as well as being sources of unconditional love and support. During and after a divorce, access to a close grandparent can become a source of comfort and familiarity for a child going through a difficult time. Unfortunately, grandparents do not have the same rights as parents. If a custodial parent decides to disallow access to a grandparent, grandparents do not have an inherent right to visitation.
At Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, we understand how enriching a grandparent can be to the life of a child. We’re here to help grandparents of all ages pursue their right to visitation or custody of a child in a difficult situation. We help grandparents with visitation, custody, adoption, and child support.
Working with Parents
If possible, we will work with the parents of your grandchild to arrange a beneficial solution. Grandparents do not have much room to negotiate if a parent is not behaving in an unfit manner and has a reasonably valid reason for barring a grandparent from seeing a child.
However, if you have an interest in pursuing legal action, you should always contact an attorney to discuss your options. We will help you determine if you have a valid case to pursue visitation or custody rights to become part of your grandchild’s life.
Obtaining Visitation for a Grandchild
If a custodial parent is not allowing you to see your grandchild, you can pursue a lawsuit to obtain a court order for visitation. You may pursue a visitation case against the parent if the parent in question is in jail, is mentally unfit, not living with the child, or is dead. If grandparents meet one of these conditions, the court will hear the case and determine if visitation is in the child’s best interest and if:
- A parent is unfit due to neglect, abuse, incarceration, or incompetence,
- The parents are divorced,
- The child only has a court-approved relationship with one parent, or
- The child has been living with his or her grandparent(s) for six months or longer.
Obtaining Custody of a Grandchild
Parents can grant a grandparent custody of a child through a power of attorney. If the parents do not give a grandparent a power of attorney, the grandparent must file a custody lawsuit and prove one of the following:
- The child lived with the grandparent seeking custody for at least six months. A grandparent has 90 days to file a lawsuit from the time a child leaves the home to live with someone else
- The child’s best interests are not being met
- All custodial parties agree that a grandparent should have custody and/or long-term visitation rights
- The grandparent is the child’s legal guardian
If all of the requisite conditions are met and the court determines that living with a grandparent is in the best interest of the child, then grandparents may win the custody battle.
Adopting a Grandchild
If two parents can no longer participate in their roles (after death, due to substance abuse, or because of a history of violence), they may voluntarily terminate their rights as parents or have their rights terminated involuntarily. A grandparent can file a Petition for Adoption as soon as the courts formally terminate parental rights.
The courts will approve of a grandparent adoption if living with grandparents is in the child’s best interest. Adoption is one way to keep a biological grandchild inside the family when outside adoption or foster care are the only other alternatives.
Killeen Grandparents’ Rights Attorney
Custody and visitation battles involving children are tough. If you are concerned about losing your role in your grandchild’s life, contact the team at Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC today.