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Uncles and Aunts Possessory Rights

In re J.O. was a San Antonio case where in August 2006 the maternal aunt and uncle who had cared for their 18 month old great niece off and on since birth and more recently on a consistent basis under a safety plan with CPS, filed suit seeking custody, alternatively, possession and access.

In September the court appointed them temporary managing conservators and the child's mother as a possessory conservator.  After a trial on the merits the court appointed the mother as managing conservator finding that she had cared for another child; had maintained appropriate housing and employment; maintained visits with the child; fostered a relationship between the child and her half sibling; and generally acted as an appropriate parent.

The father was appointed possessory conservator.  The court denied access to aunt and uncle who appealed.  They complained that the trial court improperly excluded or failed to consider certain evidence, erred in applying the parental presumption and abused its discretion by denying access.

The Court of Appeals ruled that while the Legislature intended for grandparents to be able to seek access in certain circumstances, no similar provision extended to aunts and uncles.

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