Charlotte Grandparents’ Rights Lawyer

A law firm you can rely on to empower you.

There is nothing quite like the grandparent/grandchild relationship. Back up parents without the pressure or expectations, for many children, their grandparents become their most trusted confidants and childhood best friends. Unfortunately, many things can disrupt the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Disputes can lead to parents cutting off a grandparent’s access to the grandchild. In those instances, grandparents are left wondering if they have any rights.

North Carolina does not give grandparents a statutory right to see their grandchildren. However, the lack of a statute does not mean a lack of options if the child would be harmed by not seeing the grandparent. The court uses the best interests standard to make visitation and custody decisions, including issues about grandparent access. A Charlotte grandparents’ rights lawyer could help you present an argument to the court that seeing you is in your grandchild’s best interests.

Disruptions in the Grandparent-Grandchild Relationship

There is no single reason that parents decide to cut off a grandparent’s access to a grandchild. However, family dysfunction often plays a role in estrangement. Divorces, deaths, and an adult child having no contact with their parents can all lead to estrangement between grandparents and grandchildren. For the most part, courts respect a parent’s right to determine who gets to be around their children. Parents have the right to deny access to a child, no matter how painful it is for the grandparents.

The courts will interfere when denying that access is harmful to the child. To get visitation, grandparents have to demonstrate that visitation is essential for a child’s well-being. How that looks will differ from case to case since it will heavily depend on individual facts.

Visitation After the Death of a Parent

A grandparent who is seeking visitation with grandchildren after the death of their child may have the most robust case. In these scenarios, the surviving parent may find it challenging to try to maintain that relationship. However, courts will likely believe that keeping a relationship with a deceased parent’s family is essential.

Visitation After Divorce

A grandparent who is seeking visitation with grandchildren after a divorce may have a more difficult battle. Theoretically, they could spend time with the grandchildren when their child has possession of them. If their child does not have possession — either through court order or by electing not to take possession during their allotted periods — the court may extend that parent’s bad behavior to their grandparents. The grandparents will have to demonstrate why they should get visitation, even if their child does not have that right.

General Visitation

The most challenging scenario is when a grandparent is seeking general visitation rights from their child. Most parents do not decide to deny their parents access to their grandchildren lightly. Courts tend to respect those decisions. To prevail, a grandparent may have to do one of two things. The first is to actively seek and complete treatment for any underlying issues that would have led to their child going no-contact. The second is to reveal to the court if their child has any underlying issues that contributed to their decision to go no-contact. A Charlotte attorney who handles grandparents’ rights could help people decide what strategy will work best for them.

Grandparent Custody

Grandparent custody is even more challenging to get than grandparent visitation. However, North Carolina General Statutes § 50-13.1(a) allows relatives, including grandparents, to file for custody of a child. Nonparents do not have the same rights as biological parents, who have a presumptive right to the custody of their children. If one or both parents are alive, then a grandparent has to overcome that presumptive right by demonstrating that both biological parents are somehow unfit.

This standard is critical. Even if the grandparents would provide a better home for the child, it would not be enough to rebut the presumption of parental custody. Instead, they must show that the parents’ behavior is inconsistent with their role as parents. Some qualifying behaviors would include abuse, neglect, abandonment, or drug or alcohol addiction. A grandparents’ rights attorney in Charlotte could assess potential cases and let grandparents know if they have a claim.

Speak to a Charlotte Grandparents’ Rights Attorney

Whether you are motivated by concern for your grandchildren or simply a desire to see them, you may have rights under the law. The best way to find out potential legal remedies is to consult with a Charlotte grandparents’ rights lawyer. After learning about your situation, our team could discuss various approaches to getting you access to your grandchildren.

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