What Are Grandparents’ Rights with Regards to Visitation?

Only a mere four decades ago, when a child’s parents were no longer in a relationship with one another, the only people concerned about visitation rights were the parents themselves. Today, this matter is much different. As grandparents in Texas spend more time with their grandchildren, even some taking on parental responsibilities, they seek to protect this relationship. Divorce can be messy, even causing the ties with in-laws to break. This can present challenges when establishing child custody, especially if one parent obtains full custody while the other is awarded visitation rights.

What are grandparents’ rights? They are the rights grandparents have to seek visitation with their grandchild. While it might seem simple and straightforward that the court should award a grandparent the right to visit their grandchild, it isn’t always that easy.

Each state has guidelines when granting or denying visitation rights to grandparents. Because the purpose of granting these rights is to maintain the relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild, this must be in the best interests of the child. Additionally, it must be reasonable for the situation. If visitation is granted, it could be permissive or restrictive depending on the state.

If restrictive statutes exist, visitation can only be granted if the parents of the child are divorced or deceased. On the other hand, permissive statutes provide more leeway, allowing grandparents to seek visitation even when the parents are still married.

Keeping in contact with family, even if a divorce splits them up, can be a positive thing. However, when emotions run high and relationships are severed, it may not be the best option for some. Thus, those dealing with custody or visitation issues should take the time to understand their rights. This can help them make a well-informed decision while also protecting the best interests of the child involved.

Source: FindLaw, “Grandparent Visitation Rights,” Accessed Feb. 10, 2018

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