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Grandparents' rights and informal agreements

Grandparents are a very important part of a child's life. In many cases, grandparents act as the primary care givers while the child's parents are at work, and there are even situations where the parents and children live with the grandparents. When all is going well, there is usually very little thought given to the idea of grandparents' rights, but when there is a divorce or a falling out, it can turn into a major issue quickly.

There are many misconceptions about grandparents' rights, including that they have none or that they will be automatically granted court-ordered visitation. However, neither of these is always true, and grandparents' rights can be one of the most nuanced types of custody cases.

When grandparents need to be given responsibility for the grandchildren, one available option is an informal custody agreement. These agreements are between the grandparents and the parents and allow the grandparents to have enhanced rights without the parent having to worry about limiting or giving up his or her parental rights. An informal custody agreement allows the grandparents to make decisions regarding the medical care, education and religious upbringing of the child and may be especially popular in cases where a military parent is being deployed.

One possible issue with these informal custody agreements, however, are that they can be rescinded by the parents at any time. Depending on the circumstances, this can be a very difficult experience for all parties involved, and limiting contact with a grandparent who has been a significant care provider may not be in the best interests of the child at all. In these cases, securing the advice of a Texas family law attorney is the first step in pursuing legal action.

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