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What factors may be considered in grandparent custody situations?

Grandparents' rights can be an issue of increasing concern as the composition of families change and families begin to look different. Greater numbers of grandparents may be raising children for a variety of reasons. Grandparents seeking custody of their grandchildren in Texas may wonder what factors may be considered when determining grandparents' rights to custody.

Laws concerning grandparents' rights vary by state but have also been impacted by significant court decisions so for grandparents seeking custody or visitation, which may be different considerations, it is important for them to understand the laws in their state. It is also helpful to know which factors will be considered for custody in the state where grandparents are pursuing custody but a general set of factors may be considered.

The focus of any child custody or visitation decision is always the best interests of the child. To determine what is in the best interests of the child, courts may consider factors including the needs of the child, taking into account the emotional and physical health of the child, safety of the child, welfare of the child and overall well-being; the ability of the grandparents or parents to meet the needs of the child; the wishes of the child depending on the child's age; the wishes of the grandparents and parents; the nature, strength and length of the relationship between the child and grandparents; adjustments that will be required to the child's home, school and community; the ability of the grandparents or parents to provide the child with love, affection and contact; and the distance between the child and grandparents or parents.

Depending on the state, a long list of a variety of factors may be used to determine what is in the best interests of the child and the process may be impacted if the parents are abusive or unfit to care for the child. The relationship between grandparents and children is important which is why it is helpful for grandparents seeking custody of grandchildren to understand their rights and options available through the family law system.

Source: Family.findlaw.com, "Factors Considered for Grandparent Visitation and Custody," Accessed June 1, 2017

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