I recently wrote about a bill that would allow families to lose their children without any accusations of abuse or neglect. Under current Texas law, the Grandparent’s Access Statute has been responsible for the destruction of many families. Although most of us have good relationships with our in-laws, those who don’t can end up in court and ultimately lose their children over simple parenting disagreements with their mother or father-in-law.
A dangerous bill, HB 575, has been voted out of committee and is moving on to the House Calendars Committee for consideration of vote on the House floor. Texas’ current law is bad. This bill makes it far worse.
Current law allows fit parents to be sued by in-laws under certain, limited circumstances. To be clear, these are not abusive or neglectful parents. There are no accusations of abuse or neglect.
The statute is often used by those who disagree with legitimate decisions the parents are making for their children as a legal weapon to force the family to do something they do not wish to do.
Since 2003, Texas Appellate Courts and the Texas Supreme Court have issued 20 mandamus opinions in grandparent access cases. In 85% of them, Appellate Courts found that the lower court had severely abused its discretion to the detriment of the family. Usually, these cases were against single mothers.
Even though only single parents can be sued under this statute currently, the abuses that families suffer are already rampant.
HB 575 removes restrictions in the current law and would allow any grandparent to sue his or her child or child’s spouse for their children. In other words, single parents currently face severe abuse under this statute already. If HB 575 passes, these abuses will be extended to potentially ensnare any family in Texas. The number of lawsuits against fit parents attempting to take their children will skyrocket.
This bill is the dream of the Family Law Foundation, which has pushed it for the last six years.
HB 575 will be devastating for many families in Texas and the bill MUST be stopped. Get more information here:
Call members of the House Calendars Committee
Ask them to vote against sending HB 575 to the House floor.
For 30-plus years, THSC's position has been to protect and empower parents to make decisions for their children, especially their education. In the 1980s we fought against those who argued that parents were not qualified to teach their children at home so should not be allowed to home school. Our foundational argument against this was that parents have a fundamental, constitutional right to direct the care, control and upbringing of their children and should therefore have the right to home school.
Driven by focus on the Turpin abuse case in California, Maryland and Kentucky have joined the list of states (including Hawaii, California, New Hampshire and Ohio) where legislation has been filed to restrict the right of families who choose to homeschool their children. Such legislation is also being discussed in other states.