Rights Of Extended Family Members

Extended Family RightsWhile the preceding page focused on the rights of grandparents to seek managing conservatorship, it is important to note that, in some instances, the Texas Family Code permits other extended family members the right to seek conservatorship. The additional prerequisite for these relatives is that they must have had, “actual care, control, and possession of the child for at least six months ending not more than 90 days preceding the date of the filing of the petition.”

This scenario often arises when a troubled parent “drops-off” the child with a relative and then fails to return. Finally, a relative may seek managing conservatorship of a child if the child’s parents are both deceased.

The Texas Family Code also provides that, “an original suit requesting possessory conservatorship” may not be filed by a grandparent or other person. However, the court may grant a grandparent or other person deemed by the court to have had substantial past contact with the child leave to intervene in a pending suit filed by a person authorized to do so… .”

In short, the law prohibits extended family from initiating a suit for possessory conservatorship, but if a suit affecting the parent-child relationship is already pending, the court, in its discretion, may allow other family members to intervene in the suit. A good example of this type of case is the situation where CPS has filed suit to terminate parental rights. Again, such attempts to intervene will be closely reviewed by the court. The court’s decision to allow other family members into the suit will depend on a number of factors including the nature of the suit and the strength of the relationship between the family member and the child.

At Schreier & Housewirth family law, we have represented aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters across Tarrant County and Dallas County when they need to obtain legal custody of a child to whom they are related. Contact us today.