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What are grandparents' rights?

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but in today's culture, many families rely on the grandparents to pitch in for childcare when the parents are working. It's become increasingly common for grandparents to be the one to take children to school, pick them up and provide overnight care so the parents can have a break or attend adult-only functions. While most families give little thought to this arrangement when things are going well, a divorce announcement can change everything.

It can be very difficult on both the grandparents and the children when the parents divorce. Suddenly, when you can visit with your grandchild is determined by the shared parenting and visitation schedule, and you may find that the parent is less likely to give up time now that his or her time is more limited as well. Sometimes, grandparents can even find themselves suddenly removed from their grandchildren's lives if they do not have a relationship with the custodial parent.

While the state of Texas does make some provisions for grandparents to get court-ordered visitation, it's important to understand that these rights are fairly limited. If both parents are alive and active in the children's lives, it could be very difficult to obtain court-ordered visits against the parents' wishes. However, if the courts decide that it is in the children's best interests to see the grandparents on a regular basis, it is a possibility.

Fighting for grandparents visitation rights can be an uphill battle, and it's important to be prepared for lengthy legal proceedings. If you are interested in exploring this option, the first step is to get more information on the situations where grandparents' rights come into play and what your next steps should be.

Source: The Attorney General of Texas, "Grandparents' Page," accessed Nov. 16, 2015

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