Texas, TX asked in Family Law for Texas

Q: Is there anything that would allow a grandparent to file for a motion to access their grandchilder in Texas law?Housto

I know I need to have standing before I will even be able to file on my daughter to have visit with my grandkids. Is there anyway to do it without involving CPS? She is a good mother she just uses the kids to hurt anyone when she gets mad and she is always mad.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Daniel Abasolo
Daniel Abasolo
  • Denton, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The Supreme Court and Texas law recognizes the overwhelming interest parents have in raising their children. The court will not usurp parental authority and judgment without a good reason. Still, grandparents have some limited ability to seek conservatorship or access:

Conservatorship is a bundle of rights that allows a person to act sort of like a legal parent to a child. Grandparents can seek managing conservatorship under specific circumstances. TFC (Texas Family Code)§ 102.004 says that a grandparent can only seek conservatorship if the,

"(1) the order requested is necessary because the child’s present circumstances would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development; or

(2) both parents, the surviving parent, or the managing conservator or custodian either filed the petition or consented to the suit."

These standards require a high degree of danger to the child. Parent's enjoy a presumption that they are best suited to raise the children and merely proving a grandparent would be a better conservator is not enough. Further, the grandparent cannot even file an original petition seeking conservatorship, they can only intervene in a pending suit by showing the above facts.

Getting some "access" is probably closer to what you had in mind. Access is a set time when you can visit the child, but you won't have many rights to the child beyond mere possession. Grandparents can file an original suit for access to a child; still, parents have rights that the Supreme Court respects. See Troxel v. Granville (530 U.S. 57). At the time of filing, the grandparent must swear, and ultimately prove, that "denial of possession of or access to the child by the petitioner would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being." TFC 153.432. Also, the court can only award access if at least one biological parent still has parental rights, AND,

"(3)the grandparent requesting possession of or access to the child is a parent of a parent of the child and that parent of the child:

(A) has been incarcerated in jail or prison during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition;

(B) has been found by a court to be incompetent;

(C) is dead; or

(D) does not have actual or court-ordered possession of or access to the child." TFC 153.433

Basically, you cannot get access unless you can show that your son is dead, incompetent, in jail, or has essentially abandoned the child. Before 2005 there was more that could be done under Texas law, but that Supreme Court case I cited above really strengthened parent's rights at the expense of grandparents rights. The case should be freely available on google if you're interested in the justification behind all this. Good luck and I hope you get to see your grandchildren.

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