The Texas Grandparent Law was never intended to become a means by which grandparents could get child custody of their grandchildren. Instead, it was meant as a way that grandparents could have an active role in their grandchildren’s life, even through such a tumultuous time as divorce. However, some critics of the law believe that this law actually being misused to give child custody to the grandparents over the parents when the parents are able to take care of their children.
The criticism arises from a recent child custody battle across state lines between a Texas woman and her parents. After her son was struggling with some challenges, she decided to enroll her 15-year-old son in a troubled teens program, which coincidentally was run by her parents. However, her parents never enrolled the boy into their program.
Instead of enrolling their grandson in the program, they initiated a child custody proceeding in their own state. The judge in the grandparents’ state granted them full custody of the boy, ruling that the mother was an unfit parent since she enrolled her son in such a program in the first place. Ever since then, the mother has been fighting to get her son back.
Though this is only one case, critics of this law say that there are many other cases as well that violate a parent’s rights. They are working to pass a law known as the Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act, which they say will stop temporary orders in cases in which there is no evidence of abuse or neglect. The law would also require a hearing within 45 in cases brought by grandparents so as to level the playing field. Opponents of the proposed law, however, claim the current laws are already fair and support the basic rights of parents to raise their children.
Child custody cases can be very complicated. This is especially so when grandparents and their children are struggling with each other, as they both desire that the child have the best possible upbringing. As these laws and legislative proposals are debated, it is hoped that this will help restore the relationships between the various generations of families. When they cannot agree, however, a court will strive to decide the issues in the best interests of the children involved.
Source: kcbd.com, “Critics: Grandparent access law threatens parental rights,” Natasha Sweatte and James Clark, Aug. 27, 2012