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Proposed Bill Would Amend Rules Regarding Access to Minor Grandchildren

 Posted on January 11, 2017 in Family Law

Texas complex litigation attorney, Texas complex custody lawyerThis year, a number of family law-related bills will be introduced in Texas. For instance, one new bill will make significant changes to the guidelines regarding access to grandchildren. This area of the law can be complicated, so if you have questions or concerns about your visitation rights with a grandchild, it is crucial to speak with an experienced complex child custody attorney who can explain your legal rights and obligations.

Filing a Petition

Currently, Texas law allows grandparents to request access to a grandchild by either:

  • Filing an original suit; or
  • Filing a suit for modification.

However, if House Bill 2084 is enacted, grandparents seeking access to grandchildren through modification of an existing child custody order must fulfill additional requirements. For instance, petitioners would also need to execute and attach an affidavit containing an allegation that denial of access to the child endangers his or her physical health or emotional well-being.

Courts would also be directed to deny grandparent petitions for access and refuse to schedule a hearing unless they find that the affidavit provides facts that are sufficient to support an allegation. If a court does determine that adequate facts exist, it would be required to schedule an initial hearing.

Burden of Proof

Under the current law, grandparents must only prove by a preponderance of the evidence that denying access to a child impairs that child’s well-being or physical health. If passed, the new bill would make it more difficult to meet this burden of proof by requiring petitioners to provide clear and convincing evidencing that:

  • The child’s parent does not provide adequate care for the child; and
  • The child’s parent has engaged in culpable conduct that endangers the child’s physical health or emotional development.

House Bill 2084 would also place limitations on who can request access to a child. According to the bill, a biological grandparent cannot request access if:

  • A court does not already have continuing jurisdiction of a lawsuit involving the child;
  • The child’s parent who is the child of the grandparent opposes the petition; or
  • The child has been adopted or is the subject of a pending suit for adoption and the biological parents of the child have died, had their parental rights terminated, or have relinquished parental rights and designated another person as the child’s custodian.

Contact Powers Kerr & Rashidi, PLLC Today to Speak with an Experienced Complex Custody Attorney

The new laws could make it much more difficult for grandparents to legally gain access to their grandchildren. If you have questions about how the law could impact your own visitation rights, please contact Powers Kerr & Rashidi, PLLC to schedule a consultation. Our dedicated Leander complex divorce attorneys are eager to assist you today.




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