Protecting Your Rights for the Benefit of You and Your Grandchild
Spouses and their children are not the only ones affected by the emotional process of divorce. Friends and family members can suffer the effects as well, especially when their relationships with the children involved are jeopardized by bitter parents. Grandparents are often cut off from their grandchildren by the custodial parent due to anger or bitterness. If you are the victim of such behavior, you have the right to approach the court and request grandparents’ rights for visitation or, under certain circumstances, to custody or guardianship of the child.
Any divorce case involving children is decided according to the children’s best interests as seen by the court; therefore, you need to hire a Katy grandparents’ rights lawyer who can demonstrate to the family law judge that your grandchildren will suffer if you are not allowed to visit them.
The legal team at Adams Law Firm can begin working your case immediately to gather evidence and build a strong case on your behalf. We have a thorough understanding of Texas family law and the rights that grandparents have under the law.
Contact our offices at (281) 391-9237 as soon as possible to speak directly with an attorney and learn what options you have to defend your rights. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the better your chances are of obtaining a court order that enforces your rights.
The Basics of Grandparents’ Visitation Rights
The basic tenant behind grandparents’ visitation rights is that a child needs their grandparents and other members of their family in their lives so that they can grow up to become healthy and well-adjusted adults.
Visitation rights that are granted for family members other than the child’s parents are most common when a child’s immediate family is no longer intact. In most instances, this means that the parents have divorced, and the child would benefit from having other family members, such as their grandparents, in their life, even if one of the child’s parents disagrees.
There are also other instances, such as for a child that has been placed in foster care, in which grandparents may also be granted visitation rights. If the child is adopted, however, grandparents are not able to request visitation rights unless the child has been adopted by a stepparent.
Requesting Grandparents’ Visitation Rights
When you petition a court for visitation rights for your grandchild, you must be able to prove that it is in the best interests of the child. When deciding if visitation rights are reasonable, the courts weigh a number of factors, including:
- The child’s relationship with you
- Your relationship with the child’s parent or guardian
- The last time you had contact with your grandchild
- The effect that your visitation has between the child and their legal guardian
- How your visitation time will affect the time the child has to spend time with their biological parents and/or other family members
- Any history of abuse and any other factors that the court may find relevant
Federal Law and Grandparents’ Visitation Rights
Grandparents’ visitation rights are primarily based on state law, but federal legislation can also influence how grandparents’ visitation rights are enforced. In 1980, the United States Congress passed the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, which required that every state give full faith and enforce grandparents’ visitation orders from any other state court.
States have also adopted versions of the Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which requires that courts in the child’s state recognize and enforce any and all child custody orders from other states.
The U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Visitation Rights
Because parents have a fundamental right under the constitution to make decisions concerning the upbringing of their children, some state laws regarding visitation have been challenged. One of these challenges led to the 2000 Supreme Court case Troxel V. Granville, where paternal grandparents petitioned for visitation rights after the child’s mother limited their visitations to a single short monthly visit.
The Washington State legislature had passed a visitation rights law in 1973 that gave permission to anyone to petition the courts for visitation rights whenever they wanted to. It also gave Washington superior courts the authority to grant those rights if they believe that visitation was in the child’s best interests.
A Washington Superior Court ruled, in Troxler V. Granville, that the paternal grandparents were entitled to more visitation time with their grandchildren, and the court order more visitation than Tommie Granville, the children’s mother, wanted them to have.
The ruling was appealed, and the Washington Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the lower court, making the argument that people who were not parents of the children lacked the ability to sue for more visitation under the Washington statute that was the basis of the lawsuit.
In 2000, the case made it to the United States Supreme Court, where the Washington Court of Appeals decision was upheld by a vote of 6-3, stating that the application of the Washington State law violated the right of the parent to make decisions regarding the “care, custody and control” of her children.
However, the Supreme Court did not address the visitation laws of other states in their ruling. Because the Supreme court did not assert that visitation laws are unconstitutional, every state still allows petitioners to seek out visitation rights. So, while it is true that states still recognize a grandparent’s right to petition the court for visitation of their grandchildren, states also now give substantial weight to a fit parent’s decision concerning the upbringing of their child.
It may be in your best interest to seek out a resolution to your visitation dispute without seeking a court-ordered visitation. Often, mediation is an excellent way to settle visitation disputes without having to go to court. Through mediation, a neutral third party will help both you and the child’s parent communicate and come to a legally binding solution that is acceptable to both sides.
As you can see, there are various factors that determine custody and visitation rights. The process of determining the best course of action when dealing with any visitation or custody case can be complicated and differ based on each circumstance. If you’re facing a grandparents’ visitation dispute, you need to contact a knowledgeable grandparents’ rights attorney today at Adams Law Firm who can advise you on the best possible course of action.
Why Hire Adams Law Firm for Your Grandparents’ Visitation Rights Case?
Texas has joined many other states in recognizing the importance of a grandparent in the life of a child after a divorce. But if you’re facing a grandparents’ visitation rights dispute, you need an experienced attorney with you to help guide you through the process for the best possible outcome.
At Adams Law Firm, we have aggressively advocated for fair resolutions in family law cases since 1977. We have received extensive recognition for our superior service to our clients, and members of our team are AV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®.
With over 40 years of experience dealing with every legal aspect in family disputes, we know that family disputes are often accompanied by intense emotions on all sides. Therefore, our emphasis is to provide personal service and attention to every client we work with.
We will listen and note every detail of your situation from start to finish, as well as help you determine what you best need moving forward. We will keep you updated on every aspect of your case so that you have the information you need to make well-informed decisions as things move forward. We know how important communication is, which is why we strive to answer you as quickly as we are able.
Adams Law Firm knows how important your grandchildren are to you, so we offer a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.
Contact a Family Lawyer in Katy, TX
Call us now for a free initial consultation at (281) 391-9237 so we can help you understand what your rights as grandparents are in this difficult family situation. Adams Law Firm knows that separations and divorces can be very difficult for all those who are involved. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the fear of being excluded from your grandchild’s life. Call our firm today at (281) 391-9237 as soon as possible to get started on your case.