Grandparent Custody

The strongest pillars of a family are extended family. Sometimes parents lose their way in life and grandparents are left looking after their grandchildren with no help or support. In order for a grandparent to obtain custodial rights, the biological parents must be proven unfit either through a custody proceeding or an emergency custody hearing. Services and financial assistance are available to grandparents when they choose to take on this challenge. We can help with to protect children from harm's way with kindness, compassion and experience.

The toughest choice for a grandparent is to tell a stranger about their child's failures and admit their child is a danger to their grandchildren. Keep in mind, grandchildren are defenseless. A grandparents failure to act may result in sexual or physical abuse of an innocent child or a child being present during drug abuse or physical violence.

In order for a grandparent to obtain custody, they must be willing to:

  • Tell the truth to a judge and or DSS or both
  • Testify against their child
  • Be willing to act as a parent for an extended period of time

None of which is comfortable or easy. We appreciate these are hard and complex choices that can have damaging affects on a family. That said, a child's safety is priceless. We have the experience, resources and team to help navigate you through this experience successfully and will do everything possible to minimize the trauma and damage to the greatest extent the law allows.

The state of North Carolina has four statutes that allow a grandparent to maintain an action for custody of a grandchild:

(N.C. Gen. Stat. §50-13.1(a)) — "Any parent, relative, or other person, agency, organization or institution claiming the right to custody of a minor child may institute an action or proceeding for the custody of such child, as hereinafter provided."

(N.C. Gen. Stat. §50-13.2(b1)) — "An order for custody of a minor child may provide visitation rights for any grandparent of the child as the court, in its discretion, deems appropriate. As used in this subsection, "grandparent" includes a biological grandparent of a child adopted by a stepparent or a relative of the child where a substantial relationship exists between the grandparent and the child…."

(N.C. Gen. Stat. §50-13.2A) — "A biological grandparent may institute an action or proceeding for visitation rights with a child adopted by a stepparent or a relative of the child where a substantial relationship exists between the grandparent and the child. Under no circumstances shall a biological grandparent of a child adopted by adoptive parents, neither of whom is related to the child and where parental rights of both biological parents have been terminated, be entitled to visitation rights. A court may award visitation rights if it determines that visitation is in the best interest of the child…"

(N.C. Gen. Stat. §50-13.5(j)) — "In any action in which the custody of a minor child has been determined, upon a motion in the cause and a showing of changed circumstances pursuant to G.S. 50-13.7, the grandparents of the child are entitled to such custody or visitation rights as the court, in its discretion, deems appropriate. As used in this subsection, "grandparent" includes a biological grandparent of a child adopted by a stepparent or a relative of the child where a substantial relationship exists between the grandparent and the child. Under no circumstances shall a biological grandparent of a child adopted by adoptive parents, neither of whom is related to the child and where parental rights of both biological parents have been terminated, be entitled to visitation rights."

Please call us at 828-283-0068 or send us an email to arrange a time to meet with our lawyer.