Do grandparents have visitation rights in Texas? 3 Answers as of March 01, 2013

Does a grandparent of a child who's parent is deceased have legal visitation rights? Both the deceased parent(custodial) and the living parent(non custodial) had joint managing conservatorship and the child is living with the non custodial parent. The parents were never married. The grandparent lives in Louisiana and the child is a resident of Texas and lives there.

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Rivera Legal Group, PLLC
Rivera Legal Group, PLLC | Victor Rivera
Possibly but the grandparent would have to 1) file a lawsuit and 2) would have to show that they have had continuous contact with the child.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 3/1/2013
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
No, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case called Troxil in 2005 that Grandparent's derive their rights, if any, from the intervening parent. States have since that time carved out exceptions but in effect these exceptions do not give Grandparent's any rights, they merely give (in certain circumstances) the Grandparents the ability to sue for custodial rights. Stated another way, there are no such thing as Grandparent Rights in any state, but some states allow Grandparents to go to Court and ask for them anyway. Texas will allow it under very limited circumstances. The ultimate issue for most grandparents, in the position you describe here, is to treat a son-in-law or daughter-in-law well enough that they will allow Grandparent's to see the grandchildren if the intervening parent dies. The alternative is that the Grandparent (at least in Texas) has to demonstrate that denying the grandchild contact with the grandparent is paramount to injuring the child's emotional or physical development. This standard is similar but different than proving the remaining parent is unfit. An unfit parent naturally injures the child's development, but there can be circumstances in which the relationship between grandchild and grandparent is so significant that denying grandparent rights endanger's the child when and if the in-law parent denies access regardless of the parent's fitness to so act. It could be argued that there are relationships whose nature is such that denying access can only be the act of an unfit parent (the parent has demonstrated an inability to forgo his/her personal estrangement to the grandparents to the point of hurting the child could be called an unfit parent).
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 2/28/2013
Thomas P. Carnes, Attorney & Mediator | Thomas P. Carnes
Yes. You will just need to file a suit of the court that issued the original orders and, as a result, has continuing jurisdiction. If the parent and child have moved, the case may need to be transferred to where they reside now.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 2/28/2013
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