The days you spend with your grandchildren are probably the best days. You love chasing them around, sharing old stories with them or watching them compete in middle school athletics.
While you may be a devoted and loving grandparent, the unfortunate truth is that your relationship with your grandchildren is often dependent on the relationships with your children and their spouses. Sometimes, grandparents find themselves unable to connect with grandchildren because of an issue with their child or the other parent of the grandchildren.
You may not get invited to birthday parties or even be able to talk to your grandkids on the phone. What rights do you have as an alienated grandparent in North Carolina?
You don’t have visitation rights, but sometimes you can ask for custody
While some states allow grandparents and other adults to seek visitation through the family courts when they have an established relationship with children, North Carolina law does not allow such visitation claims.
If the parent who has custody of the children doesn’t want to allow you to communicate with the children or spend time with them, you don’t have the statutory authority to request a visitation hearing in the family courts. However, sometimes parents withdraw from a broader family relationship because the household situation is unstable.
If addiction, abuse or criminal activity has made the household unsafe for your grandchildren, state law may allow you to seek custody. Only if the courts agree that having the children with you and not with their parents would be in their best interest would such a move likely succeed.
There is a workaround solution for frustrated grandparents
Often, denied grandparent visitation has to do with the fallout between the parents. The easiest way to overcome that obstacle is to encourage your child to seek custody or parenting time.
If there is already an existing custody order that does not grant your child any authority, you might support them emotionally or financially as they improve their circumstances and then ask for a custody modification. Helping your child get parenting time could give you access to your grandchildren again.
Learning about the custody laws that establish third-party rights in North Carolina can help you reconnect with your grandchildren.