In child custody cases, the law tends to give preference to parents over other caregivers whenever possible. However, that preference is by no means absolute. In some cases, other family members or even people outside the family, may have rights and responsibilities relating to the care of children in divorce or custody cases. Conservators are people who have court-ordered responsibility and authority to manage the affairs of someone who cannot manage their own affairs, like a minor child.
Where grandparents provide a primary residence for a child, exercise actual care, control and possession of their grandchild, for in excess of the time required by law, they can become the primary caregivers. Fulfilling this role gives grandparents standing to file a lawsuit for conservatorship of their grandchildren. This “standing” (a legal term for the ability to pursue a case in court) may occur even though the parents have not given up or relinquished their own parental rights and responsibilities or even if the grandparents do not have the ultimate legal authority to control the child.
At Connolly & Shireman we routinely handle matters that affect children and families. Our attorneys know the legal requirements for grandparent’s standing relative to their grandchildren. We have represented and obtained primary conservatorship for many grandparents in our Family Law and Child Welfare Law cases. If you are a grandparent that is concerned about your grandchild, please call and speak with one of our Houston Family Law and Child Welfare Law attorneys.