Ideally, grandparents in Texas raise their children and get to play with their grandchildren. However, some grandparents find themselves raising their grandchildren because their parents are unfit, abusive or simply abandoned them. If you’re in this situation, you may want to seek custody or visitation rights.
Do grandparents have custody rights?
It may seem safe to assume that grandparents automatically get child custody when their grandchildren start living with them. However, grandparents will have to consult with a custody attorney if they want to make it official. A judge will have to grant them full custody before they’re legally recognized as the children’s guardians.
If the grandparents have trouble securing custody, they may want to seek visitation rights. A judge may grant them visitation rights if the children’s parents are divorced, abusive, dead, in jail or otherwise not part of their children’s lives. The judge may also grant visitation rights if the children have lived with their grandparents for six months or more. Visitation rights don’t have the same legal ramifications as full custody, but they give the grandparents some legal claim over their grandchildren.
If a judge grants the grandparents full custody, the children’s parents may still be obligated to pay child support. Instead of paying their former spouse, they’ll have to pay their children’s legal guardians.
How can you seek custody or visitation rights?
Since grandparents don’t have the same legal rights as parents, it can be challenging to secure full child custody. An attorney could help you fight for visitation rights that allow you to remain in your grandchildren’s lives. If possible, a lawyer may even help you shoot for full custody of your grandchildren. This would give you full legal rights over your grandchildren and require their parents to pay child support for food, clothes, education and other expenses.