In North Carolina and throughout the U.S., grandparents play an important part in the lives of their grandchildren. While relationships vary from family to family, in many cases, grandparents provide emotional assistance, child rearing help and even provide financial support.
Due to the complexities of modern family life, there are situations in which an existing connection between grandparent and grandchild might be disrupted or even severed. This is often due to divorce, particularly when the parent who has primary physical custody is estranged from the ex-spouse’s parents. Other situations in which contact between children and their grandparents might be disrupted include the death of a child’s parent or the adoption of the child by a stepparent or other relatives.
In situations where a grandparent is concerned about losing contact with a grandchild, it may be possible for the grandparent to seek visitation rights. While grandparents do not have the same rights to a child as the legal parents, the courts generally do recognize the importance of the bond that often exists between grandparents and their children. Judges tend to consider such issues as whether a child has a healthy relationship with the grandparents as well as whether it is in the best interests of the child to maintain that relationship.
Grandparents who would like to obtain visitation rights to their grandchildren might benefit from speaking with a family law attorney. The lawyer may be able to review their case and make recommendations regarding a legal strategy that can reestablish and continue this important relationship.