Every day, countless grandparents across the state of Texas and the entire country are confronted by the prospect of taking care of their grandchildren on a full-time basis. Whether there has been a death in the family or one or both parents are unable to care for their children properly, the maternal or paternal grandparents can seek to have legal custody of children involved in the case. That is why it is so important for Texas grandparents to understand their options for obtaining custody of their grandchildren under the law.
Considering the option of legal adoption, grandparents in the state of Texas should take several factors into consideration. For one thing, the Texas state Family Code stipulates multiple requirements for a child to be eligible for adoption. In many cases it is necessary for the parental relationship of both living parents to be terminated. And in order to adopt a child in the state, a grandparent or grandparents must first petition for adoption with the state and meet a number of qualifications.
In addition to legal adoption, grandparents have other options for gaining primary custody of their grandchildren. For instance, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension website explains that grandparents can obtain a custody order in many cases. Establishing a custody order provides grandparents with the legal authority to care for and make decisions on behalf of their grandchild without officially terminating the legal rights of the child’s parents. Custody orders are generally useful in temporary situations, and allow for other legal arrangements like child support to be made.
Another possibility that many grandparents have is to establish legal guardianship over their grandchildren. Having legal guardianship is similar to having custody, except that it involves the probate court and requires grandparents to comply with a number of other legal guidelines, including submitting annual care reports in some cases.