Southlake Grandparents Rights Attorney

The Southlake grandparents´ rights attorneys at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law are experienced in representing grandparents and non-parents and can help you develop a customized and strategic game plan to counter this presumption.

Difficulties for Grandparents and Non-Parents

Texas law presumes that a “fit parent” acts in the best interest of their child. This presumption applies when grandparents and non-parents seek custody or simply request possession and access of a child. Those non-parents who can bring suits seeking custody or possession include grandparents, aunts and uncles, adult siblings, great-grandparents, and even stepparents under the limited circumstance when a biological parent/spouse is deceased, and the child lived with them for a set period.

The law in Texas is stacked against grandparents and non-parents. When a parent objects to a grandparent or non-parent being involved in their child’s life, one must then show that denying access to the grandparent or non-parent would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.

Texas Adoption Statistics

How many Texans are adopted every year?

  • Over 4,500 Texan minors were adopted in 2021.
  • About 2,250 of those Texas adoptions are between relatives.
  • Children over 12 are less likely to be adopted in Texas.

Grounds for Seeking Custody

One ground for seeking custody arises when a child lives with their grandparent or another family member. The Texas Family Code provides standing for a custody suit when a person “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 filing of the petition.”

But what if a child only lived with their grandparent for a couple of months while their biological parent was in jail? Or what if the child never lived with another family member at all, but there are concerns of drug use and child neglect from the child’s biological parents? In these circumstances where there are extreme safety concerns, the Texas Family Code provides for other family members to bring a custody suit if they can show that the child’s present circumstances would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional development.

Grandparents Denied Access to their Grandchildren

Sometimes family disputes arise, and parents will withhold access to a child from the child’s grandparents. If this happens, to gain court-ordered possession of the child, the grandparent must show that the denial of possession or access to the child would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. This is a highly fact-intensive inquiry that typically requires a skilled Southlake grandparents’ rights attorney to present the case.

In addition to proving significant impairment, there is the additional requirement that a grandparent must show that their child (the parent of the grandchild) was in jail during the three-month period before the case, was found by a court to be incompetent, is dead, or does not have actual or court-ordered possession of the child.

Steps to Adopt a Grandchild in Texas

Here are the four steps to adopting a grandchild (or another relative) in Texas, which the Southlake grandparents rights lawyers at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law can help you with:

  • 1. Parental Rights Must Be Terminated: This is usually the hardest part of adopting your grandchild as the court does not remove a natural parent’s rights without careful review. A grandparent or other non-parent can’t adopt a child that the parent still has rights to. Something called an Affidavit of Relinquishment is needed.
  • 2. Home Study: The courts must ensure the child is going into a safe home. Just like with becoming a foster parent, a professional must come inspect your place of residence. Part of the legal requirement is to complete a thorough study of your household, family members, and related items, regardless of whether your grandchild has lived with you since birth. A home study costs around $1,000 and can be done through a home inspection agency. A home study is also a chance for you to discuss the adoption requirements and obligations.
  • 3. Child Permission: In the state of Texas, any minor older than 11 has to agree to the adoption. This involves signing a document that makes their consent to the adoption clear.
  • 4. Adoption Hearing: The final step is the actual adoption hearing. You may invite loved ones who support the adoption to the hearing. Many families go out to celebrate afterward.

Contact a Southlake Grandparents Rights Attorney

Mims Ballew Hollingsworth | Family Law has 75 years of combined family law experience handling cases just like these. It is possible to secure rights for grandparents and non-parents, but it is not easy. It takes a great deal of skill and knowledge to overcome the “fit parent” presumption. Contact our expert attorneys and schedule a consultation.

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    817-900-8330

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