Do Aunts and Uncles have standing to get Possession and Access to their Niece or Nephew in Texas?

The short answer is, probably not. For the most part, the policy of the Texas Family Code is to have the parents of the child make all of the decisions about the way a child is raised and that includes deciding which family members get to see the child. In some circumstances an aunt or uncle may be able to intervene in an existing case regarding their niece or nephew or even be able to open up a case on their own. This would require some specific findings on the part of the judge regarding the health and safety of the child. The aunt or uncle must basically show that their intervention in the case is necessary because without it the physical health or emotional development of the child would be significantly impaired.

There are also ways that can be initiated by other parties that an aunt or uncle may end up involved in a case about their niece or nephew. A child may be placed with an aunt or uncle by CPS or even given over to the aunt or uncle by the biological parents themselves. In these cases, as long as certain timeframes are met, the aunt and uncle can petition the court to grant them custody of the child. However, even in these circumstances the judge still has discretion in deciding what is in the best interest of the child and whether the aunt and uncle should be given a legal right to possession of the child.

If you are an aunt or uncle and you have a question about a family law situation contact Guest and Gray and we can go over your options with you.