Grandparents typically don’t have the right to the custody of their grandchildren. However, the situation may be different if the grandchild is being raised in an unhealthy environment.

Grandparents may feel the need to step in to become a grandchild’s primary caregiver when their grandchildren are being raised in a home with domestic abuse or substance abuse problems. But how and when can a grandparent argue for the custody of their grandchild? Here’s what you need to know about grandchild custody.

When can a grandparent seek custody when a child’s parents are living?

Child custody laws vary by state. In Texas child custody cases, judges will make their decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child. When both parents of the child are living, judges may prefer to place the child with one or both of the parents.

If both parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child, third parties such as grandparents may be able to obtain custody of the child. Grandparents may obtain child custody when:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse is in the child’s home.
  • There’s been documented neglect or abuse in the parents’ home.
  • Both parents are deemed unfit.
  • Both parents consent to giving the grandparents custody.
  • One or both parents’ mental illness makes them unfit.
  • One parent is unfit and the other won’t or can’t take custody of the child.

Even in these circumstances, grandparents may not get custody of their grandchildren, especially if other members of the family are trying to get custody for the child. Ultimately, the court will make its decision based on what’s in the best interest of the child.

What happens with child custody if a custodial parent is deceased?

In the event that the custodial parent passes away, judges will often place the child with the other non-custodial parent. If the child’s second parent is also deceased or they’re unfit, they’ll be placed with a close blood relative.

If the grandparents aren’t the only ones willing to care for the child after the custodial parent has died, the court will determine the custodial guardian based on the child’s best interest.

Grandparents who are battling for child custody with the assistance of a child custody lawyer may be favored if they:

  • The grandparents are in good health and in a good financial situation.
  • The parents left a will naming the grandparents the guardians of the child.
  • The child wants to live with their grandparents.
  • The grandchild and custodial parent were living with the grandparents prior to the custodial parent’s death. About 10% of grandparents with a grandchild in the United States.

Do you need a child custody lawyer or divorce lawyer in Houston?

If you’re looking for a divorce lawyer or a child custody attorney for your case, the child custody lawyers of Connolly and Shireman are right for you. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact the law offices of Connolly and Shireman today.