Grandparent's Right to File Original Suit
A grandparent has the right to file an original lawsuit if the grandparent has standing under the Texas Family Code. Section 102.004 (a) expressly provides that a grandparent has the right to file an original suit requesting managing conservatorship if there is satisfactory proof to the court that:
- the order requested is necessary because the child's recent circumstances would significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional development; or
- both parents, the surviving parent, or the managing conservator or custodian either filed the petition or consented to the suit.
In addition to section 102.004, a grandparent may have the right to file suit under the general standing provisions provided by section 102.003. In particular, the following statutes:
- (a)(9): a person who has 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.
- (a)(10): a person designated as the managing conservator in a revoked or unrevoked affidavit of relinquishment or to whom consent to adoption has been given in writing.
- (a)(13): a person who is a relative of the child within the third degree by consanguinity if the child's parents are deceased at the time of the filing of the petition.
- (a)(14): a person who has been named as a prospective adoptive parent of a child by a pregnant woman or the parent of the child, in a verified written statement to confer standing executed under Sec. 102.0035, regardless of whether the child has been born.
The right to file suit allows the grandparent the ability to petition the court to be named the child's conservator. However, the right to file suit should not be confused with the right to obtain the relief requested. The strong parental presumption that favors parents sets a high bar that grandparents must overcome. Nonetheless, there are times that the court will find it necessary to appoint a grandparent a conservator because it is in the child's best interest.