Grandparents often play a significant role in the lives of their grandchildren, providing them with additional love, guidance and support. Unfortunately, when parents go through a breakup or divorce, the close relationships between grandparents and grandchildren can be strained or even severed. In such situations, grandparents may wonder if they have any legal rights to maintain their connection with their beloved grandchildren.
When facing the challenge of seeking visitation rights, grandparents should be aware of the legal framework in their state. In North Carolina, the law recognizes the rights of grandparents to petition for visitation under certain circumstances, such as if there is an ongoing custody case, the parents are separated or one of the parents has died.
To initiate the process of obtaining visitation rights, grandparents should consult with a family law attorney to guide them. The attorney can assess the specific circumstances of the case and provide valuable advice on the likelihood of success in pursuing visitation rights. The attorney can also gather relevant evidence and preparing a strong case to present in court.
Courts prioritize the best interests of the child, so when filing a petition for visitation, grandparents must be prepared to demonstrate to the court that visitation is one that will, first and foremost, benefit the child. Grandparents must show that their involvement helps the child’s emotional and psychological development, which may involve presenting evidence of a pre-existing close relationship, ongoing involvement in the child’s life and the positive impact the relationship has had on the child thus far.
The court will typically consider the wishes of the parents in these cases, if appropriate. If both parents agree to grandparent visitation, the court is more likely to grant it. However, if one or both parents oppose the request, the court will carefully evaluate the reasons behind the opposition. Parents may argue that grandparent visitation is not in the best interests of the child, and the court will consider whether maintaining the grandparent-grandchild relationship substantially benefits the child.
The emotional bonds between grandparents and grandchildren are valuable, and the legal system recognizes the importance of maintaining these connections. For personalized guidance and reliable representation, reach out to an experienced attorney at Carolina Law Group, led by Tommy Kellis by calling 252-636-3737 or contacting us online for a consultation at our New Bern or Morehead offices.