Protecting the Rights of Grandparents

Grandparents can be vital parts of a family and a child's stability, especially during a divorce action or if parents fail to create an environment that is in the best interest of the child. It is important to note, though, that currently in North Carolina grandparents do not automatically have legal access to their grandchildren.

Gaining custody or visitation rights over a child in North Carolina can be difficult for a grandparent. A grandparent will need to prove that the parents are either unfit or acted contrary to their constitutional rights as parents. For example, a grandparent may need to provide evidence showing that:

  • The parents are mentally unfit to care for the children.
  • The parents do not have adequate finances to care for the children.
  • Both parents abuse drugs or one parent does not take any safeguards to protect the children from this situation.
  • The parents are neglectful.
  • One or both parents are abusive or the nonabusive parent does not take any measure to protect the children from domestic violence or abuse, whether physical, emotional or psychological.
  • There is already an ongoing custody dispute involving other nonparent family members (including another grandparent).

At Ashley Cannon, Attorney at Law, PLLC, I help people in Winston-Salem, Statesville and the surrounding areas in North Carolina. I can help you file a temporary or permanent petition explaining to the court the need to grant or block intervention by grandparents.

For more information about this type of family law matter, I invite you to contact me today and schedule an initial consultation at one of my two conveniently located offices. I will even come to you if that would be easier.

Grandparent Visitation Rights in North Carolina

As grandparents, unfortunately, you also do not have automatic legal rights to see your grandchildren. A parent has the right to keep you from seeing your grandchildren. This can be particularly difficult and painful if the parents divorce, if one of the parents passes away, or if the child lived with you for some time.

The process of gaining visitation rights is similar to the custody process. You will need to be able to prove that the parent is unfit or has acted in a manner that is contrary to his or her constitutional rights as a parent.

You may also be able to gain visitation rights if you can show that the family unit is no longer intact. A family is still considered to be intact if one parent is alive and is fit to care for the child. In this situation, you may be able to negotiate visitation rights with the "fit" parent. I can try to work out an amicable agreement outside of going through the court that grants grandparents access to their grandchildren, including a visitation schedule. I can also work with parents to incorporate grandparent access terms as part of an original custody agreement that is part of a divorce action.

Talk to a Lawyer About Grandparent Rights

Contact me today to learn about your options by scheduling an initial consultation at my Statesville office.