When a family experiences a separation or divorce, a grandparent sometimes loses contact with their grandchildren through no fault of their own. We are often asked what rights the grandparent has, if any.
In North Carolina, a grandparent has the right to claim visitation with their grandchildren under certain circumstances, even over the objection of one or both parents. There are several statutes that permit a grandparent to maintain an action for visitation of their grandchild:
Understand that biological parents have a 14th Amendment right to care for a nurture their children. This is called the “Peterson presumption” in North Carolina, which provides that custody with a parent is presumed to be in the child’s best interest. The grandparent must overcome this presumption to obtain custody. Therefore, for a grandparent to prevail against a parent in an action for child custody, they must show that the parent(s) is either unfit, has neglected the child(ren), or has engaged in conduct inconsistent with their protected status (i.e., voluntarily giving up custody of a child to a non-parent). Grandparents, and non-parents bringing an action for custody, must prove their case with clear and convincing evidence.
If you have questions regarding grandparent custody and visitation rights in North Carolina, contact Adkins Law. We have offices in Huntersville and Charlotte for your convenience.