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Petitioning for grandparent visitation rights

May 09, 2019

Divorce in North Carolina affects more than the couple cutting marital ties and their children; it affects the entire family, including grandparents. At Christina Rivenbark & Associates, we take the time to learn about client needs and the familial situation to help ensure the best possible outcome.

According to LiveAbout, the state statutes regarding rights for grandparents make winning visitation a challenge. The North Carolina Supreme Court provides the definition of “intact family”, and it is broader than in other states. An intact family consists of the children and their custodial parent. The grandparents on the non-custodial parent side have no legal rights or recourse for visitation unless it is part of the original custody decision.

The only sections of the law that mention grandparents are those that address general custody and visitation. This makes them difficult to read and interpret regarding your rights. If you wish to proceed with a petition for visitation, you must establish the biological connection and illustrate a substantial relationship with your grandchildren.

There is no strict definition of “substantial.” However, if the children stayed with you overnight on occasion or if you provided routine childcare, these are positive factors. If there is no biological connection to adopted children, divorce severs your rights.

For children do not live near their grandparents, there is a provision for virtual visitation as a supplement to in-person visits. If your adult child is going through a divorce and you want visitation rights with your grandchildren, legal assistance might be necessary. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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