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Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights in North Carolina?

Grandparents cooking in kitchen with grandchildren practicing their NC grandparents rights

Learning that you’re no longer allowed to see your grandchildren can be devastating. But unfortunately, this is a reality for many grandparents in North Carolina, whether because of conflict within the family or more serious matters.

But because North Carolina courts realize that the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is important, there are ways for grandparents to secure visitation or even custody rights.

Grandparents' Rights in North Carolina

State laws regarding grandparents’ rights vary greatly across the country. Typically, the parents’ wishes are heavily considered and respected. However, grandparents may be granted visitation if they raised their grandchild for several years or were a substantial influence in the child’s life, and the loss of visitation would not be in the grandchild’s best interest.

Grandparents are not automatically granted visitation rights after the birth of their grandchild. Grandparents can request visitation by filling out a petition in the district court in the county where your grandchild lives.

On Rare Occasions, Grandparents can be Granted Custody

Though uncommon, it’s not impossible for grandparents to be granted legal and/or physical custody of their grandchild if the child’s parents are unfit, since courts most often want to keep children with a biological family member.

You can become your grandchild’s primary caregiver if you have found the parents to be unfit due to:

  • Drug and substance abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Mental instability
  • Inability to provide safe housing
  • Inability to contribute to child support
  • Inability to protect the child from harm
  • Imprisonment

Grandparents and Adopted Grandchildren

In North Carolina, the biological grandparents of a child who was placed for adoption do not have any visitation or custody rights because the child’s biological parents permanently terminated their rights.

At Blood Law, PLLC, we believe in helping our clients achieve their goals – no matter how complex their divorce or other family law issue. Our experienced attorneys provide tailored legal services with a unique, team-based approach to do our best to achieve these results.

To learn more about our legal services, contact our grandparents' rights lawyers online or give us a call at (704) 286-0570.