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After unimaginable tragedy, grandparents push for enhanced rights

In many families in Texas and around the country, grandparents are the unsung heroes of families. Many grandparents never plan on becoming de facto parents again; however, unforeseen circumstances often thrust them into that role. When push comes to shove, grandparents who are fighting for the welfare of their grandchildren might have to ask a judge to assert their grandparents' rights in a custody or visitation case.

For one elderly couple, the inability to convince a judge that their great-grandson should live with them rather than the boy's father led to tragic circumstances. The couple's granddaughter, the mother of their great-grandson, was going through difficulties with substance abuse. However, her grandparents thought she was making progress and wanted her to ultimately be a part of her son's life.

However, an apparent drug overdose took the young woman's life, leaving the great-grandparents to seek custody on their own over the boy's father, who the great-grandparents did not trust. For most of his life, the boy had lived with his great-grandparents and sometimes with his mother at the elderly couple's house.

Unfortunately, they were unable to get full custody of the boy, and he was killed -- along with his father -- in a car accident. Toxicology reports are pending but the family thinks the man might have been under the influence of intoxicants. Now that both their granddaughter and great-granddaughter are gone, the couple want to honor them by pushing for more rights for grandparents in custody cases via new state laws.

Source: The Daily News, "Great-grandparents: Changes to custody laws may have saved young crash victim," Barbara LaBoe, April 24, 2013

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