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What happens if the grandparents want visitation rights?

Custody and visitation cases are always stressful for those involved. When you've already been through a long custody battle with your ex, it can bring back all of those feelings of anxiety and powerlessness when you find out that the child's grandparents are filing for visitation rights through the family courts.

While the state of Texas does recognize grandparents' rights as far as pursuing court-ordered visitation, it is an uphill battle for the petitioner. Once you find out that legal action is being pursued, talking with a family law attorney can help you better understand the chances the grandparents will be granted rights in your specific situation and what your options are if you want to protest.

According to Section 153.433 of the Texas Family Code, grandparents must overcome "the presumption that a parent acts in the best interest of the parent's child." This means that the state recognizes that parents have a right to socialize their children as they see fit and that the parent's wishes may trump the grandparent's request for access in some circumstances. The grandparents have the burden of proof in these situations, meaning they must show be "preponderance of the evidence" that not seeing the child has a direct negative effect on the child's physical or emotional health.

This is an important point because it is much more difficult to show that the child is negatively affected by the lack of access than it would be to show that the child would benefit from regular access to the grandparents. Situations where the courts may agree that lack of access is not in the best interests of the child are more likely when the child has lived with the grandparent for an extended time or when the grandparent has acted in a custodial role before the parent came back into the child's life.

Source: Texas Family Code, "Sec. 153.433 Possession of or access to grandchild," accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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