When you dedicated years to raising your own children, you look forward to the special bond you have with your grandchildren. You love to spoil them and may even ease up on discipline in ways you never would have as a parent.
However, in some situations, you may have to take on additional responsibility with the grandparent-grandchild relationship. When the parents do not provide for the child’s best interests, through abuse, neglect, or other actions, there may be a need for a grandparent intervention under Texas law. It is important to discuss your situation with an experienced grandparents rights lawyer, but you may find it useful to review some important information.
When Legal Action May Be Necessary
Under certain circumstances, grandparents may have standing to bring a lawsuit for visitation, custody, or both. This is often the case after a divorce, if a parent forbids you from contact or communication. To exercise your visitation rights, you would need to show that:
- You are the biological grandparent;
- One parent still maintains parental rights; and,
- Your grandchild would suffer physical or emotional harm without you in his or her life.
There are additional requirements that depend on your specific circumstances, which is why you need solid representation in this type of grandparents rights case.
Overview of Grandparent Intervention
If you seek more than visitation and want custody of your grandchild for his or her safety, you also have options. You can file a lawsuit for grandparent intervention in Texas if there is an existing court case regarding the child’s welfare.
The law will always favor custody for the biological parents, so it is not enough to show that you have a dispute or are simply missing your grandchild. You must petition to be appointed as conservator, sometimes referred to as guardian. This type of case requires you to demonstrate to the court that:
- You are the biological grandparent;
- At least one parent has not had parental rights terminated; and,
- Not having access would significantly impair your grandchild’s physical health or emotional well-being.
Types of Conservatorship
There are two forms of conservatorship you can seek with respect to your grandchild. By establishing the above three elements in a grandparent intervention case, you may get possessory conservatorship. You will not be able to exercise the same rights as a parent and are not able to handle decision making on such matters as education, religion, healthcare, and other important aspects of raising a child. However, this grandparent intervention action allows you visitation rights.
A step above possessory conservatorship is managing conservator. In this position, you essentially stand in the shoes and take on the role as parent. Your grandchild lives with you, and you can make important decisions. In addition, you may be entitled to receive child support from the parents. To be granted powers as managing conservatory, you must prove the three elements mentioned above PLUS one of the following:
- Your grandchild lives in a physically or emotionally dangerous environment;
- parent or legal guardian consents to your appointment as managing conservator;
- You have been caring for your grandchild in your home for six months or more, and this arrangement was interrupted within 90 days prior to filing a lawsuit; OR,
- Your grandchild and parent have lived with you for six months or more, and did so within the previous 90 days.
Of course, in any case regarding a minor, the child’s best interests are also a primary concern. When relying upon any of the four above components of a grandparent intervention case, you must also show that acting as managing conservator aligns with the best interests of the child. Under Texas law, factors include:
- The wishes of the child, where age-appropriate;
- The child’s emotional and physical needs, currently and in the future;
- Your own physical, financial, and mental capabilities;
- The stability of the proposed residential environment; and,
- Many more.
Consult with a Skilled Austin, TX Lawyer About Grandparent Intervention in Texas
If you have concerns about the health and well-being of your grandchild, quick legal action is critical. You may have rights as a grandparent, but time is of the essence in exercising them. Ben Carrasco is a grandparents rights and family law attorney with extensive experience in intervention cases. He has in-depth knowledge of Texas laws and CPS rules, so he is a valuable asset who will advocate on your behalf. Please call (512) 489-9820 to schedule a consultation with Mr. Carrasco right away. You can also go online to learn more about our legal services.