Grandparents in North Carolina have limited rights when it comes to visitation with grandchildren. Their hearts may ache to see them and vice versa, but legal steps must be taken if they want to see them on a semi-regular basis.
Sometimes, a court order may be the only way for a grandparent to see his or her grandchildren. This likely would happen especially if a splintered relationship exists between a parent and the grandparents. This is why grandparents may petition the court in order to gain some form of visitation rights.
Best interest of the child
Courts have significant discretion when it comes to awarding visitation for grandparents. Judges always focus on the best interest of the child, initially reviewing the stability of their relationships with adults.
Stable relationships are critical. The court will review the grandparent/child relationship and determine just how strong the bond is between them. A substantial relationship must exist; typically meaning having a family relationship as well as a solid emotional bond.
The court also will look at the child’s physical and emotional health and overall well-being when considering awarding visitation rights to grandparents. In addition, visitation is possible if at least one of the parents does not object to having the grandparents see and visit the children.
And, ironically, while an unfit parent is not a good thing for a child, it does increase the chances for grandparents to secure visitation, which may include in-person visits as well as video calls and phone calls.
Granted, complexities remain synonymous with legal situations related to grandparent visitation. That is why it is crucial to consider seeking a legal advocate to help you as a grandparent navigate this situation.