Under Texas family law, a court may grant grandparents reasonable possession and access to a grandchild if three conditions are met. First, at least one of the child’s parents, whether adoptive or biological, must have parental rights to the child. Second, the grandparent must overcome the presumption the child’s parent is acting in the child’s best interest by showing that denying the grandparent possession or access would result in significant impairment to the child’s health or well-being. Finally, the grandparent must be the parent of the child’s parent, and that parent must have been incarcerated during the past three months, have been found incompetent, be deceased, or not have possession or access to the child. TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 153.433.
In a recent case, a father challenged an order allowing the maternal grandparents possession and access to his children. The parents and children stayed with the grandparents while they looked for a house when they moved to Texas from California. The grandparents supported the family so the parents could save up to buy the home. After the parents bought a home nearby, the children regularly visited their grandparents, sometimes overnight. The grandparents would take the children to school and attend school functions. The grandmother testified she felt she had assumed the role of parent.
The grandmother testified both parents were alcoholics. The mother’s friend testified the parents had a tense and unhealthy relationship. There was testimony that the mother sent the children to stay with the grandparents when the situation at home grew tense. The father’s friend testified the father left the children with the grandparents when he went to bars and nudist colonies. He also testified the father told him he often argued with the mother, but did not state the arguments ever turned physical.