Do grandparents have custody and visitation rights?

Divorce has a ripple effect on other relationships aside from the soon-to-be ex-couple. It also disturbs the bond between grandparents and their grandchild.

However, North Carolina courts often favor natural parents’ rights to care for their child. Despite unfortunate odds, grandparents often accept the challenge of protecting their custody and visitation rights by meeting certain conditions.

Court considerations on grandparents’ rights

Grandparents can file for custody if they have clear and convincing proof that the parents are “unfit,” or cannot live up to their obligation of upholding the child’s best interests.

More than showing how they can improve their grandchild’s living standards, grandparents must still overcome the legal assumption awarded to the biological parents. They must prove any of the following to the court, showing how the parents:

  • Cannot provide the child with safe and secure housing or environment
  • Abuse, abandon or neglect the child, placing them in imminent danger
  • Suffer from a severe illness, or do not have stable mental faculties or financial resources to support the child’s growing needs

Grandparents can also assert their rights to spend quality time with their grandchild if they can establish a continuing and substantial relationship between them. A possible way to demonstrate a solid relationship is if the child lived with their grandparents for a considerable time.

Further, if a visitation order already exists and grandparents believe there has been a significant change in circumstances, they can request a modification.

Motivations to forge on

Claiming grandparents’ rights often requires proper timing and strategies for favorable outcomes. Thus, grandparents must not make the mistake of tackling visitation and custody issues alone. After all, these are crucial times when their grandchild needs them most. Having legal counsel ensures that their persistent efforts toward enjoying precious moments with their beloved grandchild do not go in vain.

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