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How does a history of violence impact child custody proceedings?

Last time, we began looking at grandparents’ rights in child custody cases in Texas As we noted, courts in Texas will only grant a grandparent’s request for possession or access to a child, otherwise known as custody or visitation, if specific circumstances are adequately proven.

Courts are allowed to grant reasonable possession of or access to a grandchild when several circumstances are present. First, at least one biological or adoptive parent of the child must not have had parental rights terminated. Second, the grandparent requesting possession of access to the child must be able to show it is more likely than not that denial of possession would result in physical or emotional harm to the child. Thirdly, the grandparent requesting possession or access must be a parent of the grandchild’s parent who is incarcerated, incompetent, deceased, or who doesn’t have court-ordered possession of or access to the child. 

State law provides that a biological or adoptive grandparent may not request possession of or access to a grandchild if: (1) each of the biological parents is deceased, has had parental rights terminated, or has waived parental rights and (2) the grandchild has already been adopted or is in the midst of adoption proceedings initiated by anybody other than a stepparent.

When grandparents get involved in custody proceedings, it can be an emotional process. The important thing for grandparents, though, is to be aware of the law surrounding the process, what their rights are, and to have an experienced advocate to help them make the best showing possible in court. 

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