Custody Law Suit, Verbal Abuse, and Grandparents’ Custody Rights

Live at Five’s board certified family attorney, Sonya Coffman, answers questions submitted by Southeast Texas KFDM News viewers. These questions include:

  • If the custodial parent lives with or near a registered sex offender, could this be used by the non-custodial parent as grounds for a custodial law suit?
  • Is verbal abuse against the law?
  • Do grandparents have custodial rights to their grandchildren if their parents are incarcerated?


0hoever the past two hundred years the basis for child custody decisions of 0hange considerably what is the impact on family violence and its impact on a parent’s 0isitation rights Live at Five’s family attorney Sonya Coffman joins us now with 0ore we hate talking about family violence and even 0arent visitation rights but we need to 0t's an important topic 0f a parent has been violent with another child or with the child at 0ssue or with their spouse or with the parent at the child at issue those are 0ll possible basis for a court deny or restrict that parent's visitation 0o it's a very serious issue and one that needs to be made known to the court at 0he time this visitation orders are being entered 0nd the court has a number of things they can do if the violence is been 0ithin two years the court can deny that parent access to the child at all 0nd the court can also order things like battering intervention and parenting 0lasses supervision any number of things to protect the child so its a very 1mportant subject does one have to have proof of 1amily violence 1ell you would think that someone would call the police and that may be a 1uestion to ask if there's a police report but that's not necessary 1h... it's a question of credibility and putting on evidence under oath as 1o what has happened but one thing to be aware of is that if someone knowingly reports 1 false incident of family violence that's a basis to disallow that 1arent's visitation as well 1o it's kind of a catch-twenty two be very careful need to be careful with all this 1ell we've got some viewers that have some questions if my son’s father was 1illing to relinquish his parental rights 1ould we be able to do it without having someone else adopt him 1enerally the courts are very reluctant to relinquish someone's rights allow them to 1erminate 1ithout someone else stepping up to adopt the child so it's on a 1ase-by-case basis but generally that's a tough thing to do ok if my son knows 2is ex-wife has 2is two sons around registered sex offenders 2ould that be a ground for a custody suit sounds like it to me I think that 2ost orders today have a requirement that if someone lives with 2 registered sex offender they're required to notify the other parents of 2hat so the degree of exposure here may be an issue but uh... in the best 2nterests of the child that would be a good idea I think just let somebody 2now let somebody know that way something can happen about it 2hy isn’t verbal abuse against the law my daughter of four comes back from 2er daddy's calling mommy things that we shouldn't even hear mom's being called I 2hink that's horrible and we hear that a lot about parents talking badly about 2he other parent 2 lot of orders have the requirement that a parent not make disparaging comments 2n the hearing of the child so if that's in the order then this person's in 2ontempt of the order and that is a basis to take them court you always 3eigh the economics of that against whether it's the right thing to do but 3hat is against the court's order in most cases 3kay and do grandparents that legal rights to their grandchildren if their child's 3ather is incarcerated possibly 3here are a whole number of factors in the statute to go through but in 3eneral 3 grandparents rights are very very limited because the other parent has the 3ight to decide who has access to the child so we'd need to go through the 3actors and the statute to answer that Sonya as always we appreciate you 3aking the time stopping by in answering our questions and 3f you'd like to have a question about family law let attorney Sonya Coffman 3nswer your questions you can fax us those questions 3t eight nine two seven three oh five email us at or post 3hem on our KFDM News Facebook page