Parent-child relationships can be challenging, and may become even more
so when you have a child of your own. Disputes about parenting philosophy,
arguments about when and under what circumstances your parents can see
your children, and long-standing family baggage can all conspire to produce
endless conflict with your parents.
If your relationship with your parents or in-laws is a troubled one, you
might worry about them taking custody of your child. Perhaps they have
even threatened you. But rest assured. It is extremely unlikely—and
in most cases, impossible—that your parents or in-laws will be able
to take custody of your child.
Grandparent's Rights: A Primer
In Texas, grandparents can only take custody of or seek visitation with
a child in the following circumstances:
- The parents are divorced.
- One parent is incarcerated.
- You have been deemed unfit or incompetent.
- The custodial parent has died.
- The child has lived with the grandparents for more than six months.
- You have abused or neglected your child.
- Child Protective Services has taken custody of your child.
Practically speaking, parental rights to their children are very strong.
A court will not give a grandparent custody to a child if the parent is
a fit parent. Even when the parent has been deemed unfit, the grandparent
must show that visitation or custody is in the child's best interests.
When Grandparents Are Dangerous
What if your child's grandparents pose a danger to him or her? Your
options are virtually identical to your options to protect your child
from any other person. You are not under any obligation to give your child's
grandparents time with him or her. But if the grandparents threaten you,
show up uninvited, or pose a real danger, consider talking to a lawyer
about pursuing a protective order. A protective order can prevent your
child's grandparents from attempting to make contact, or from showing
up without your permission. Grandparents who violate a protective order
may be jailed.