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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Can a grandparent gain custody of a grandchild?

According to Texas law, parents have the fundamental right to custody and care of their child. Under normal circumstances, the grandparent does not have a legal right to see the child. However, sometimes circumstances are such that a grandparent feels that they are a more appropriate guardian for their grandchild. It may possible under such circumstances for the grandparent to be awarded custodial control over their grandchild.

Unless the parent signs a power of attorney to the grandparent granting them full control over all relevant custodial decisions, custody must be awarded to the grandparent by the court. A lawsuit must be filed requesting custody, and certain stipulations must be met. For example, the grandchild must have lived with the grandparent in question for at least six months. If they have left the grandparent's home after a six-month stay, the lawsuit must be filed within 90 days of the child leaving.

It is also possible to file a suit requesting custody after the court has already appointed the grandparent as the guardian or if the grandparent can prove that the child is being harmed by their caretakers or living conditions. Another way is if the parents or surviving parent agree that the grandparent should have custody.

An attorney with a background in family law may be able to guide an individual through their attempt to gain custody over their grandchild. The attorney may be able to suggest viable resources to help prove their contentions and demonstrate that they are capable of creating a safe and nurturing environment for the child in question.

Source: Texas Law Help, "Can I get legal custody of my grandchildren?", October 10, 2014

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