Texas courts understand that grandparents often play a key role in the development of their grandchildren. Grandparents often provide children with a framework of familial stability and trust that can be very important to children experiencing their parent’s divorce.
Unfortunately, some parents refuse to allow their children to spend time with their grandparents following a divorce. Those parents may perceive those grandparent-grandchild relationships as unwelcome for a variety of reasons. A divorced parent’s anger or lingering resentment towards their ex-spouse often extends towards the parents of that ex-spouse.
If your child’s ex-spouse is denying you access to your grandchildren, there are a few things you should know. Texas law operates on the basis of placing the best interests of children before all other matters. In other words, grandparents who are denied access to their grandchildren generally have to show that the parent who is barring that access is not acting in the best interests of the children involved.
A prior landmark case has now become the standard by which courts weigh decisions regarding grandparent’s rights. In that case, the court essentially said that grandparents must show the court that their continued denial of access to their grandchildren would adversely affect their grandchildren. In particular, grandparents must prove the continued denial of their access might “significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.” This is often referred to as the harm standard.
Another hurdle some grandparents face is that at least one parent, biological or adoptive, must still have parental rights over the children involved. In Texas, a grandparent cannot request access to a grandchild in situations where both parents of those children are deceased. However, grandparents can gain access in some situations where one parent is incarcerated, deemed incompetent or without court ordered possession or access for other reasons.
The key thing to remember is that your relationship with your grandchildren does not necessarily have to end with your child’s divorce. Your Texas family law attorney can evaluate the circumstances of your case. Depending on what they discover, it may be feasible to petition the court for access so that you may continue your relationship with your grandchildren.
Source: About Parenting, “Texas Grandparents’ Rights” Susan Adcox, accessed Feb. 16, 2015