Grandparents play an important role in their grandchildren's life, and can develop strong bonds that last a lifetime.
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Today, every state has some type of grandparent visitation law. Grandparents' rights generally apply to the custody of a grandchild and visitation privileges. Grandparents may file suit requesting custody if they believe it is in the child's best interest. Visitation statutes vary widely from state to state. In Texas, a court can authorize grandparent visitation of a grandchild if visitation is in the child's best interest, and one of the following circumstances exists:
- The parents divorced;
- The parent abused or neglected the child;
- The parent has been incarcerated, found incompetent, or died;
- A court-order terminated the parent-child relationship; or
- The child has lived with the grandparent for at least six months.
Visitation statutes do not give a grandparent an absolute right to visitation. Also, a grandparent may not request visitation if the grandchild has been adopted by someone other than the child's step-parent.
If your grandchild lives with you, you may wish to seek custody. As a custodial parent, you can apply for child support. Both parents have a legal obligation to provide financial and medical support for their children. If you have custody, they will be required to pay it to you. You can call our Child Support Division at (800) 252-8014.
Access, Custody and Visitation Referrals
If you have questions about child custody you may want to contact an attorney. The Texas State Bar's Lawyer Referral Service can assist you. You can contact the service at (800) 252-9690.
Other organizations may also be able to help.
The Legal Hotline for Texans
The Hotline provides services to Texas residents age 60 and older. Call (800) 622-2520 or go online at www.tlsc.org/legalhotline.asp.
Area Agencies on Aging
Area Agencies on Aging provide many services to their communities. You can contact the office in your area by dialing 2-1-1 or by calling the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services at (800) 252-9240.
You can contact Texas Access with questions about child custody and visitation at (866) 292-4636 or online at www.lanwt.org/txaccess/welcome.asp.
Texas Law Help
Texas Law Help serves as an online resource and provides answers to many common legal questions. You can visit Texas Law Help at www.texaslawhelp.org.
Texas Lawyers Care
Texas Lawyers Care publishes a directory of legal services for low income Texans. You can access the directory on the State Bar of Texas' website.