• Kevin G Williamson

but I'm just his grandmother...

In North Carolina, Grandparents DO have custody rights to their grandchildren

In fact, there are four separate custody statutes in North Carolina that allow a grandparent to pursue visitation/custody through the court system. They are as follows:

1. Where there is an ongoing custody dispute in the court system, a grandparent may intervene and ask for visitation under N. C. Gen. Stat. 50-13.2(b1).

2. If custody has been previously decided, but a change has occurred that requires review, the grandparent may seek custody or visitation under. N.C. Gen. Stat. 50- 13.5(j).

3. Where a child is being adopted by a stepparent or a relative, and a biological grandparent already has a relationship with that child, he or she may petition the court under N.C. Gen. Stat. 50-13.2A for continuing visitation.

4. Where the natural parents act inconsistently with their constitutionally protected status as parents, a grandparent may approach the court as a “third party” seeking custody under N.C. Gen. Stat. 50-13.1(a).

Therefore, if a grandparent (or any other “third party”) seeks custody, he or she must demonstrate that the parents have been acting in a way that is inconsistent with the presumption. That does not mean that a grandparent must show that the parents’ rights have been terminated by a court, nor does it meant that abuse, neglect or abandonment have been found by DSS. But there must, at a minimum, be compelling evidence of parents consistently making decisions that are adverse to the child.

If that hurdle (called “standing”) is met, the grandparent and the parent(s) will both be considered as possible primary caregivers for the child. The court uses a “best interests” of the child test in its analysis. It is in then in the judge’s discretion where the child should live

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