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Grandparent Access

In Spencer v. Vaughn, the mother and dad appealed from an order giving maternal grandparents rights of access to the grandchildren.  The suit involves two children, both born of the same mother but different fathers.  Mom and father of the first child divorced and the mom was appointed sole managing conservator.  After the divorce, the mom and the older child lived with the maternal grandma until the mom remarried.

The mom and the new husband had a child together.  Relations between the mom and the grandparents went south after her remarriage and in 1998 the grandparents filed a suit for access to their grandkids.  An agreed order was signed in 1998 giving the grandparents limited visitation with both children throughout the year.

At that time, all the parties lived in Texas.  Soon thereafter, mom and new husband picked up the family and moved to Utah without telling the grandparents.  When they were found, they repeatedly denied access to the grandparents for one reason or another.

Then after 2000 the mom and father moved back to Texas, and the grandparents did not find out about it for several years.   In 2003, grandparents filed a motion to modify and vacate the agreed order.  They also filed a motion for contempt and a suit for interference with their possessory rights.  The father of the oldest child filed a suit to modify custody.

After a jury trial the jury found in favor of the grandparents and granted primary custody of the oldest child to her father.  The trial court entered an order giving the grandparents significantly more visitation with their grandchildren, entered injunctions, ordered counseling and ordered mom and dad to pay $50,000 to the grandparents and $50,000 in fees to the father of the oldest child.

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