In today’s world, families are more than just a set of parents and children — they come in all varieties. Many Texas families include grandparents as primary caregivers. There are even instances where grandparents might feel it is important to have mandated visitation with a grandchild. No matter the reason, grandparent rights are not always the same as those bestowed upon biological parents. There are certain requirements that must be met before a grandparent is given custody or visitation rights as awarded by a family court.
In all cases, a court will consider what is in the best interest of a child. When a grandparent wishes to have custody of a grandchild, the court will first look at the relationship between the child and the parents. If one or both parents are still living, a court may side with the parents retaining custody. Evidence would have to exist that the parents were unable to care for the child before a grandparent would be given custody.
As for grandparent visitation rights, a court will take into consideration several factors. First, it will look at whether the parents are married. If a grandparent demonstrates to the court that a relationship between the grandchild and grandparent is in the child’s best interest, it may decide to create a visitation agreement. Sometimes, these visitation rights will only be granted if parents have not allowed the grandparents to visit the child.
No two scenarios will be the same and there are more conditions that could affect grandparent custody or visitation. Grandparent rights may be an uncommon issue here in Texas, so families who are considering filing for custody of or visitation with their grandparents may want to seek assistance in fully understanding any restrictions that could apply. In the end, the child and his or her needs are what matters in any case like this.
Grandparent rights in Texas strengthened via legal relationship
In today’s society, more and more children are growing up in non-traditional homes. Although the single-parent home is becoming the norm, with divorce being so commonplace, another common occurrence in Texas and other areas is the growth of “grandfamilies” — where children are being reared by their grandparents instead of their parents. The challenge, however, is the lack of grandparent rights in America: Many of these grandparents lack basic rights that belong to biological parents, according to a recent article.
Based on current statistics, nearly three million grandparents in America supply their grandkids’ basic needs. Still, these grandparents have very little power even though they save taxpayers millions of dollars by keeping their grandkids out of the foster system. For instance, if they don’t form a legal relationship with a grandchild, the parent has the power to take the child away from the grandparent at any time. This can be disadvantageous because sometimes the parent is struggling with substance abuse issues or other problems that can present a poor living environment for the child.
In addition, a grandparent cannot enroll their child in school or help them to receive medical care if they don’t have a legal relationship with them. Fortunately, many federal tax credits are available for grandparents who watch their grandchildren. These include a child tax credit of up to $1,000 for a grandchild, for example.
Grandparents may be forced to watch their grandkids because the parents are deceased or are fighting overseas in the military, for instance. However, they face certain challenges when trying to care for their grandkids if they are not legally recognized as the children’s guardian. Forming a legal relationship may be a good option in this situation to ensure grandparent rights in Texas. This is established via court order and allows a grandparent to ultimately have more control over their grandchildren.
Grandparents rights group in Texas
Readers in Texas may be interested to learn about a group that is forming in another state. The group hopes to make changes to the rights of those who parent children who are not their own.
According to news reports about the group, it was formed by one woman who is raising her grandchildren. She notes that there are some areas of her home state that have as many as fifty percent of all children living in homes without a parent. Of those homes, many of the adults in charge are grandparents.
Grandparent rights activists have expressed the desire for changes to laws relating to how custody and visitation is decided. This is because of the fact that in many cases a divorce can alter the time that a child is able to be with their grandparents. In each of these types of cases, whether the child lives with the grandparent or not, the change to the important relationship is an issue for both child and grandparent.
Grandparent rights are the focus of the recently created political action group. With their emphasis on changing the way that such rights are decided in their state, the organizers hope to gain additional visitation tines or rights for custody for grandparents. The actions of the group may be of interest to readers here in Texas and they may wish to watch carefully their efforts. In the meantime, if a person finds that they are in a similar situation as those in the other state, they may find it helpful to review the laws of our state as they stand today before entering into the court process.