As a grandparent, you want the best for your son or daughter. You especially want the best for your grandchildren. When you see your son or daughter hurting, you want to protect them and comfort them. But sometimes, when you see they aren’t living right, you can’t do that. Instead, you have to take a stand and protect your grandchildren from their parents. Either because of physical harm or emotional hurt your grandchildren are experiencing at the hands of their parents.
That’s difficult to do and it takes an emotional toll. But if the parents are abusing or neglecting their children, it’s the right thing to do.
If you’ve realized something needs to be done, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it. A few options include contacting Child Protective Services or terminating parental rights and adopting the child. One of the options available that has the potential to create lasting, positive change is to take custody of your grandchild.
In North Carolina, grandparents can seek custody under certain circumstances. To be considered a grandparent, you must be the biological grandparent unless the child was adopted. Then, you must be the child’s grandparent through adoption. You have to show that both parents have acted “inconsistent with” their constitutionally protected parental rights. Basically, you have to prove abuse or neglect. Examples of acting inconsistent with parental rights include physically abusing the child, providing an unsafe living environment, emotional and mental instability, engaging in criminal activity while the child is present, abandoning the child, drug abuse, etc. This is not an exhaustive list. There are many situations that could qualify so speak to a family law attorney to be sure about the facts in your case.
If your situation does not fall under the above, you might be able to ask for visitation. While you cannot ask for visitation if the family is intact (meaning no separation or divorce), you can seek visitation during an active custody case. You will have to prove you have a substantial relationship with your grandchild. An example would be if you are use to seeing him or her every weekend for the past five years. Examples really do vary so you should speak with an attorney about your specific case.
It’s important to remember that it is within the Judge’s discretion to grant grandparent visitation or not grant it. The judge will look at factors to determine if visitation would be in the child’s best interest. For instance, a high degree of conflict between you and one or both of the parents, whether or not your interactions with the minor child are appropriate, etc. could all be considered by the Judge.
Whether or not you are seeking custody or visitation, you need a strong family law attorney to advocate on your behalf. Contact our office today for a consultation.