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Divorce, separation or other challenges that disrupt the stability of the family are tough issues. The impact of decisions such as divorce can have a great impact on the extended family. For instance, it can completely alter the relationships that children share with their grandparents.

As a grandparent, you may be wondering how to avoid losing your relationship with your grandchildren as a result of such issues. The following post explains your right to child custody under North Carolina law:

Do Grandparents Have Child Custody Rights in North Carolina?

North Carolina does not formally recognize grandparent visitation or custody rights. In fact, some feel that the court discourages grandparents from seeking custody from a child’s biological parents. The court does not allow claims involving grandparent rights unless there is evidence that the child’s parents are unfit or have acted contrary to their constitutionally protected parental rights.

Some examples of grandparent rights claims may be cases of ongoing custody disputes involving other non-parent family members (including another grandparent), or cases where the current parent/child relationship is not intact. Read more at Breeden Firm…

As a grandparent, you have the opportunity to protect your grandchild against potential situations of neglect if his or her parents fail to meet their obligations. You can win in such situations if you have relevant proof.

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However, when this is the course of action you want to take, there are some things to bear in mind. Since you have no “automatic” right to custody of your grandchild according to the law, there are certain challenges you will probably face. The following post explains these challenges:

Particular Difficulties in North Carolina

If a grandparent is found to have standing, the court can award whatever visitation it deems appropriate, according to the law. That makes North Carolina law seem simple, but there are still two tricky provisions that are to be dealt with.

First, a suit may be entered only in connection with a custody suit, not in an independent action. Because grandparents in North Carolina cannot file an independent action for visitation, some grandparents seek visitation rights as a part of a grandchild’s custody case even if they are not being denied contact.

They consider it insurance for the future. If a grandparent fails to join the original custody suit for a grandchild and the case ends up back in court, the grandparent may be able to join the suit at that time. Read more at The Spruce…

The fact that you can’t file for custody of your grandchild simply because you see the need is a major setback. However, you have the opportunity to file for it as soon as a court case involving divorce or separation is filed.

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There are other rights provided under the North Carolina laws that you can consider to ensure your relationship with your grandchild is protected even if the child moves to a different state with a responsible parent. These are visitation rights. The following post explains this:

Grandparents can petition the court for visitation while there is an ongoing custody case. The court will then determine if visitation with the grandparents is in the best interests of the children. Factors evaluated include:

  • The existing relationship between grandparents and grandchildren
  • The mental and physical health of the grandparents
  • The impact grandparent visitation will have on the rights of the parents

The wishes of the grandchildren Read more at Raleigh Divorce Law Firm…

Whether you want to file for child custody or visitation, you need to have your facts right and make smart moves.

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A good family lawyer who is well-versed in Grandparents Rights can guide you through any legal action you choose to take to secure your rights. Attorney Jonathan Meek with Meek Law Firm is an expert in such cases. Call him at (704) 848-6335 or use the contact form on the right of this page to schedule a consultation appointment.