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Grandparents' rights have a short history

As we have covered in the past, there are some instances in which grandparents have the right to seek visitation with their grandchildren. All states, including Texas, have laws governing grandparents' rights. That hasn't always been the case.

It has only been within the past 40 years that grandparents have been able to claim grandparents' rights. These rights aren't granted by the Constitution, but state legislatures have opted to include laws governing these rights to the state laws.

There are some instances in which federal laws might affect the rights of grandparents. One such set of laws is the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. That act, as well other legislation passed in 1998, requires that all states give full credit and faith to child custody orders from other states.

The legislation from 1998 gives states the right to enforce grandparent visitation orders from other states. Because of this, a grandparent who has an order from Texas can have it enforced in another state. By the same token, a grandparent from another state can have an order from that state enforced in Texas.

Every state has also passed some version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The adoption of various versions of this act further every state's ability to enforce child custody orders from other states.

For grandparents going through the process for getting grandparents' rights, knowing the current statutes and laws can help you know what to expect. Because these laws change frequently based on new legislation or determinations from the Supreme Court, keeping up to date can prove challenging.

Source: FindLaw, "Grandparents' Visitation and Custody: Background" Nov. 08, 2014

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