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Do grandparents have any rights?

When a couple divorces, it creates a ripple effect. Suddenly, friends, coworkers and even extended family members can feel like they are caught in the middle or have to choose one person over another. Grandparents are often some of the most affected by a divorce outside of the actual couple.

It's not uncommon for people to have a less-than-perfect relationship with their in-laws when they are still married. After a divorce, this can take a turn for the worse with the custodial parent refusing to talk to or arrange visitation with the grandparents on the noncustodial side. Normally, the noncustodial parent would be responsible for making sure that the children were able to visit their grandparents, but this doesn't always happen.

When grandparents lose access to their grandchildren or even just see them less frequently, it's not unusual for the grandparents to wonder if they have any kind of legal recourse. While it is possible for grandparents to file for visitation rights in the state of Texas, it can be a difficult battle. The main reason for this is that the Supreme Court handed down a decision in 2000 that said that parents have the right to socialize their children as they see fit unless it is causing specific harm to the child.

This means that grandparents petitioning for visitation rights must prove that the child — not just the grandparent — is suffering from the lack of relationship. If you have questions about the process for petitioning the courts for visitation rights to your grandchild or are a parent who is involved in a grandparents' rights case, an attorney can help.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Constitutional Rights of Grandparents: Do We Have Any?," Karin Kasdin, accessed March 04, 2016

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