There are many situations in which grandparents assume the role of caregivers for their grandchildren whether temporarily or permanently. While in many cases the arrangement might begin informally, for a variety of reasons, grandparents might need to explore the legal options when it comes to getting custody of their Texas grandchildren.
Temporary custodial options
There are many reasons why grandparents might want to make their temporary custodial arrangements legal. There are also a variety of options for them depending on their situation. These options include:
• Physical custody, which means the children live with the grandparents for the majority of the time
• Kinship care or fostering their grandchildren, which usually happens when children are removed from their parents’ legal care
• Legal custody combined with physical custody, which means the grandparents have the right to make important decisions about the children’s welfare
• Guardianship, which also allows the grandparents to decide who can take care of the grandchildren in an emergency situation
Usually, when grandparents have temporary custody of their grandchildren, the parents retain visitation rights so they can continue their relationship with their children. Additionally, even if parents voluntarily give custody of the children to the grandparents, they can petition to regain custody at any time.
In some cases, the grandparents might move on to seeking permanent custody through adoption. When grandparents adopt their grandchildren, parental rights are ended. While some of the financial assistance and other services that might have been available to grandparents when they had temporary custody of their grandchildren will no longer be available, health care coverage through the state and adoption subsidies might remain available.
Parenting grandchildren might not be in the plans for grandparents, but there are life situations that result in the arrangement. Making the arrangement legal through the court protects both the children’s and the grandparents’ rights.