Child custody, also known as conservatorship and possession under the Texas Family Code, can be complex. While the primary focus is on the biological parents, there are instances where individuals such as grandparents and stepparents may seek legal visitation rights in relation to the child. 

Can a Stepparent Get Custody in Texas?

Stepparents may be vested in obtaining child custody, but it is crucial to understand that Texas courts generally grant custody to the children’s biological parents. Stepparents can only seek custody under limited circumstances, and the court’s priority is always the child’s best interest. To determine whether a stepparent can obtain custody, it is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable Texas child custody lawyer who can assess the specific details of your case.

Non-Biological Parents Seeking Child Custody

In addition to stepparents, other individuals, such as grandparents, may also seek to become conservators or request possession or visitation of the child. However, it is essential to note that Texas law places a higher emphasis on biological parents’ rights. Non-biological parents face a higher burden of proof to establish their rights in child custody cases.

Consulting with an Experienced Texas Child Custody Lawyer

Navigating child custody matters involving non-biological parents can be legally complex. It is crucial to consult with an experienced Texas child custody lawyer who can provide personalized advice based on your unique circumstances. By understanding the intricacies of the law and having proper legal representation, you can protect your rights and the child’s best interests.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are facing child custody or visitation issues involving non-biological parents in Texas, scheduling a confidential consultation with an experienced Austin divorce lawyer is recommended. You can take the first step toward understanding your rights and options in child custody cases by filling out the form below.

Child Custody: Understanding Stepparent’s Rights under Texas Law

In particular family dynamics, individuals who have played a significant role in a child’s life, such as stepparents or grandparents, may desire to pursue custody of the same child’s parents themselves. However, the ability of a stepparent to seek custody in Texas is distinct from the circumstances in which a stepparent can be granted custody.

General Standing and the Role of Stepparents The concept of “standing” refers to a person’s right to initiate a lawsuit and be heard by a judge. According to Section 1002.003(a)(9) of the Texas Family Code, which governs general standing to file a suit, various parties have the potential to seek custody. However, the statute does not explicitly mention stepparents. However, it does specify that a person who has had “actual care, control, and possession of the child for at least six months ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the petition or filing of the petition” has standing.

The Texas Supreme Court’s Interpretation In the landmark case of In the Interest of H.S. (2018), the Texas Supreme Court clarified the broad scope of individuals who qualify under this category. The court ruled that a stepparent who shares in the child’s care, control, and possession alongside one of the legal parents or parent-child relationship can indeed be considered to have standing. This decision expanded the potential rights of stepparents to seek custody in Texas, recognizing their significant involvement in the child’s life.

Consulting with a Texas Family Law Attorney While the Texas Supreme Court decision in In the Interest of H.S. (2018) provides some guidance, seeking custody as a stepparent can still be legally intricate. It is advisable to consult with an experienced Texas family law attorney who can provide personalized advice based on the specifics of your situation. A knowledgeable attorney can help navigate the legal complexities, assess your legal standing, and determine the best action to protect your parental rights and the child’s best interests.

When Stepparents May Seek Child Custody: Understanding Eligibility and Circumstances

Child custody cases involving nonparents, including stepparents, in Texas are subject to specific limitations outlined in the Texas Family Code. Nonparents can generally be granted custody only if it is determined to be in the child’s best interests and if certain conditions are met. This article explores the circumstances in which stepparents may be eligible to seek custody and ultimately be granted custody under Texas law.

  1. THE CHILD’S BIOLOGICAL PARENTS FOUND UNFITOne situation in which a stepparent may seek custody is when the child’s biological parents are deemed unfit. If the court determines that the biological parents cannot provide a suitable environment for the child’s well-being, the stepparent may be considered for custody. The court’s primary consideration is the best interests of the child.
  2. NOT IN CHILD’S BEST INTERESTS FOR BIOLOGICAL PARENT(S) TO HAVE CUSTODYAnother scenario in which a stepparent may seek custody is when it is determined against the child’s best interests for the biological parent(s) to have custody. Factors such as neglect, abuse, or other circumstances that could potentially harm the child’s well-being may lead the court to consider granting custody to the stepparent.
  3. BIOLOGICAL PARENT UNABLE TO HAVE CUSTODYIf a biological parent cannot have custody of the child due to death, desertion, or other reasons, a stepparent may be eligible to seek custody. The court will assess the situation and determine whether it is in the child’s best interests for the stepparent to assume custody.

In such a situation, the nonparent may be eligible to have custody and ultimately seek to adopt the child. A knowledgeable attorney will provide personalized advice, assist in gathering relevant evidence, and guide you through the legal process to protect your rights and the child’s best interests. 

Learn More from a Texas Child Custody Lawyer

If you need assistance seeking custody as a stepparent, a Texas child custody attorney can help. Contact the Law Office of Ben Carrasco PLLC to learn more about our services.

About the Author
Ben Carrasco is a highly skilled family law attorney based in Austin, Texas, known for his extensive expertise in family law and business litigation. While his primary focus is family law, Ben brings a wealth of experience in litigating diverse business disputes, ranging from breach of contract and collections to business torts, fraud, and real estate matters. In his family law practice, Ben navigates all aspects of the field, including divorce, child custody, support, property division, and more, offering clients expert guidance throughout the litigation process. His legal journey began in complex commercial litigation, initially with a global law firm and later with a prominent Austin-based firm. However, driven by a desire to make a direct impact on people's lives and embrace the human element of the law, Ben transitioned to family law, a decision that has proven to be deeply rewarding. A proud Austin native with roots in California, Ben completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, before earning his law degree at Stanford Law School, where he excelled in legal writing and served as an associate editor of the Stanford Law and Policy Review.