In some cases, a North Carolina parent or stepparent who has custody of a child will prevent the child's grandparents from seeing him or her. This may happen sometimes when one of a child's parents dies and his or her remaining parent prevents the child from seeing the deceased person's parents. It may also happen when a child's parents divorce or simply when a biological parent is unable to get along with the grandparents. However, grandparents are allowed to seek visitation rights to their grandchildren in certain situations.
Grandparents may file petitions with the family courts in order to seek visitation rights. In order to be successful, they will need to show that visitation is in the children's best interests. The court may order visitation if it believes that doing so is warranted.
When the child's biological parents have had their rights terminated, and they have been adopted by unrelated parents, the grandparents may not seek visitation rights. Courts do not grant biological grandparents visitation with their grandchildren who have been adopted when their parents' rights have been terminated.
The state believes that children benefit from having close family relationships with both their parents and their grandparents in most cases. If a court believes doing so is in the best interests of the child, the court may grant grandparents' rights so that they may enjoy regular visitation with their grandchildren. Grandparents who are being prevented from seeing their grandchildren may want to consult with a family law attorney to see what recourse they may have.