Divorce brings up a lot of questions about child support and child custody. The partners who are splitting bear most of the weight while making these decisions, but there is one group of people who may also feel concerned: grandparents.
Grandparents’ Custodial Rights
If you are the grandparent, unfortunately, you do not have many legal rights. However, if the grandparents are already taking care of the child or children, they might have the right to ask for custody. This occurs in situations when the parents have chosen to ignore their parenting responsibilities or have been determined to be unfit parents. In some cases, grandparents can ask for visitation rights, but they must prove a substantial relationship that benefits the child. This is often difficult and each case is different.
In many states, a grandparent is not legally obligated to provide child support except if the grandparent is serving as the parent. Laws indicate a child’s biological parents are in charge of financial support. In North Carolina, the law does hold grandparents financially responsible in certain situations.
In some cases, the law allows for grandparents to sue for child support if needed. Much of this depends on the grandparent’s relationship to the child and role in his or her life. And as with any child support case, the need must be proven.
If you are a grandparent and feel any of these scenarios apply, speak to an attorney about your situation.
Losing Touch with Grandparents
No matter what happens in your specific divorce case, there is a chance that your parents or your partner’s parents will see your children less. You may feel that it’s for the best if your ex-spouse was abusive or if those grandparents are interfering, for example. But in other cases, the children will lose a valuable relationship. Grandparents are often helpful during and after divorce, providing childcare and offering a sense of continuity for children who suddenly have change at home.
Questions about grandparents rights in North Carolina? Visit our divorce workshop in Raleigh on the second Saturday of every month, or schedule a consultation with one of our Raleigh divorce attorneys today.