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Grandparents’ visitation & child custody rights in North Carolina

January 16, 2010 | Mark Spencer Williams | Child Custody & Visitation, Family Law | 151 Comments

More children live with their grandparents today than in years past.

children affected by divorce are ofted cared for by their grandparents

The U.S. Department of Census reports that 23% of children are regularly cared for by their grandparent(s) and that children are more likely to be cared for by grandparent(s) if the parents are separated, divorced, or were never married.1

About 5.7 million children (8% of all children in 2006) in the United States live with a grandparent and the majority (3.7 million) live in the grandparent’s home. In about 40% of these homes, no parent is present.2

The rights of a grandparent to visit with their grandchild or have custody has been a recent news topic. The highest courts in Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Utah have recently ruled on this issue.3 North Carolina continues to refine its case law on this issue in light of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Troxel v. Granville in the year 2000.4 In that case, the Supreme Court determined that the State of Washington’s visitation statute allowing grandparent visitation violated the due process rights of parents to raise their children and determine whether they associate with their grandparent(s) or not.

In our practice, we see increasing numbers of grandparents as the primary caretaker for grandchildren especially as a source of child care. Young children sometimes spend more waking hours with their grandparent, even in an intact family, than with their parents who often have to work to support the family. As such, the bond between grandparent and grandchild is often strong.

When the family experiences a separation or divorce, a grandparent sometimes loses contact with their grandchildren through no fault of their own. This can be disruptive for the family and sometimes harmful to the minor child who experiences the disruption and instability of a change of child care provider. We are often asked what rights the grandparent has, if any.

In North Carolina, a grandparent has the right to claim custody and/or visitation with their grandchildren under certain circumstances, even over the objection of one or both parents. There are four statutes that permit a grandparent to maintain an action for custody or visitation of their grandchild; these are:

  1. Action or proceeding for custody of minor child (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.”
  2. Who entitled to custody; terms of custody; visitation rights of grandparents; taking child out of State (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….”
  3. Action for visitation of adopted grandchild (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…”
  4. Procedure in actions for custody or support of minor children (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.”

 

As between parents, custody and visitation are generally treated by the courts as the same bundle of rights (with the exception of sole custody wherein visitation is clearly a distinct and separate right). However, with respect to grandparents’ rights, the court have clearly distinguished custody from visitation. Custody is much harder to obtain because our courts acknowledge that a parent has a fundamental right consistent with Troxel to control with whom the child associates.

Grandparents seeking visitation

A grandparent has the right to claim visitation with the child when he or she can intervene in an ongoing child custody case or the family is not “intact.” When there is an ongoing child custody case, a grandparent may intervene in the proceeding and file suit for custody or visitation. See Sharp v. Sharp, 124 N.C. App. 357, 477 S.E.2d 258 (1996). Often, a grandparent will file a motion to intervene shortly after one parent sues for custody simply to preserve their visitation rights with the child in the event that their son or daughter dies before the child becomes an adult. When one parent dies, sole custody is usually vested in the living parent by operation of law. A grandparent does not have standing to sue for visitation upon a parent’s death. See Price v. Breedlove, 138 N.C. App. 149, 530 S.E.2d 559 (2000); Montgomery v. Montgomery, 136 N.C. App. 435, 524 S.E.2d 360 (2000). In fact, the Troxel case out of Washington State was initiated after one parent died.5

It is critical to file the motion to intervene before the case is resolved. A case is resolved through a settlement agreement or court order. Once the case is resolved through a settlement or permanent child custody order, there remains no ongoing case and the grandparent may not intervene to seek visitation.

Also, once the parties separate, a child living with his or her parent can constitute an “intact” family such that the grandparent does not have grounds to intervene for visitation. See Eakett v. Eakett, 157 N.C. App. 550, 579 S.E.2d 486 (2003). The grandparent may have to wait to file an action for visitation when one of the parents brings an action for child custody and re-opens the custody matter.

In determining whether visitation will be granted, the court will hear evidence concerning the child’s bond with the grandparent, the amount of time spent together, the amount of care provided for the child by the grandparent and other evidence.

Grandparents seeking custody

In general, a grandparent has a right to custody when he or she can show that both parents are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parents. The grandparent cannot win custody merely by showing the grandchild would be better served in the grandparent’s custody or that it is in the best interests of the child. The grandparent must show that the parents are&nbps;not suitable parents or misconduct rising to the level of an abrogation of their constitutional rights. Parents are presumed to be appropriate custodians of their children and a grandparent has the burden of proof to show otherwise.

Examples of reasons for determining a parent unfit or has acted inconsistent with their constitutional rights may include drug use, substance abuse, alcoholism, child abuse, child neglect, abandonment of the child, voluntary relinquishment of custody even if temporary under some circumstances, failure to care for the minor child or provide support, among other reasons.

If both parents are determined to be unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutional rights, the trial court will determine custody of the child using a best interests test.

Legal procedure in grandparent custody cases

The legal procedure in grandparent custody cases is quite complex. Pleadings must state specific grounds for claiming visitation and/or custody. If the motion or complaint fails to include all of the proper elements, it may be dismissed by the Court for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See Eakett v. Eakett, 157 N.C. App. 550, 579 S.E.2d 486 (2003). As a result, it is strongly recommended that grandparents enlist the aid of an attorney who routinely practices family law to assist them with a grandparent child custody or visitation matter.

Aftermath

If the grandparent successfully obtains an order allowing custody or visitation, it is possible for grandparents to remain a part of their grandkids’ lives whether the parent(s) desire this or not.

Laws on grandparents’ rights vary from state to state. Other states, however, will generally give full faith and credit to a North Carolina court order as a result of the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act in 1980, which requires that each state give full faith and credit to child custody decrees from other states. Also, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), adopted by most states, requires courts in the state where a child resides to recognize and enforce valid child custody orders from another state.

Update: Read Methinks North Carolina’s Grandparent Visitation Statute is Unconstitutional.

 

Disclaimer: Seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.


151 Comments

  1. We have a different situation. Our son and his wife are not separated or divorced, they are together. We moved to NC in July 2008 after living our entire lives in OH. One of the main reasons to relocate is our youngest son and his family live in Charlotte. We had a wonderful relationship with our son and daughter-in-law. Our son and his wife encouraged us to move, helped us look for houses and the house we purchased was found by our daughter-in-law. After some minor disagreements this summer and at Christmas, our daughter-in-law will not allow us to come to their home and pick up our granddaughters. She will not even meet us in a parking lot. The only way we can see them is if our son has time on the week-end, to meet us to get the grandaughters. We are devastated, our 5 year old granddaughter was spending the night here and we saw each other all the time. We saw our granddaughters for 4 hrs. in January and for our granddaughter’s 5th birthday on Feb. 7. Do we have any options? Up until the disagreements our daughter-in-law and I were good friends and we did things together all the time. We are so sad.

    Thank you.

  2. In the past 2 months my 18 year old nephew has moved in with his grandmother and has a 13 year old sister at home living with his father and step-mother. In recent days my 13 year old neice told us that her father will never let her see us again. Does my 18 year old nephew have any rights by NC Law to visit his sibling NOT at his father’s house but to have her come to his house? Can he file for visitation? Thank you in advance.

  3. lynn

    my son passed away in 08 and my daughter in law stopped me from seeing my grandson about 5 months but let me keep him and his sisters every weekend but stoped me from seeing him for no reason and i dont know what to do i wanna try and get my visitation rights would that be possible.

  4. In NC if a child’s parents die and the grandparents are named as custodians in the will can it be contested? I was told that if one of the parent’s has a siblings they could take the child away from the grandparents because a sibling has more rights in NC than grandparents. Is this true?

  5. Parents are presumed to know the best interest of their children. Any parent may by last will and testament recommend a guardian for any of his or her minor children. If both parents make such recommendations, the will with the latest date shall prevail. In the absence of a surviving parent, such recommendation shall be a strong guide for the clerk in appointing a guardian, but the clerk is not bound by the recommendation if the clerk finds that a different appointment is in the minor’s best interest.

    The clerk has the power and authority on information or complaint made to remove any guardian appointed under the provisions of 35A, to appoint successor guardians, and to make rules or enter orders for the better management of estates and the better care and maintenance of wards and their dependents.

    Any interested person may petition the clerk to exercise his or her authority under 35A; however, The jurisdiction of clerks of the superior court in the appointment of guardians of infants, etc., does not extend to cases where the petitioner asks for the custody of a child who had been placed by its mother under the control of another (In re Lewis, 1883, 88 N.C. 31) and would appear to revert the matter back to a best interest test under chapter 50.

  6. My son and his girl friend are both 19. They had a baby girl 3 months ago. The girl friend let me see my grand daughter for her first month daily almost and then just decided to not let me anymore. She has decided to leave him if he comes around too. Is there anyway I can get visitation to see my grand daughter?

  7. My sons mother recently passed away and emergency custody was given to his maturnal grandmother. If and when I get custody back will she have to whait the two years to petition for visitation since one petition has already been filed. I live in Colorado.

  8. If the court order is governed by a State other than NC, you need to contact an attorney in that State.

  9. Deborah

    We discovered our daughter was using drugs in July 2009. She wanted to take our 23 month old grandson out of our home-the two of them would live with us during the week while she worked and they would go home to her apartment for weekends). We called child protective services and we were granted kinshipcare. She has only seen him about 5 times since last June. She lost her job, was arrested twice for possesion. We bailed her out and helped her get into a rehab program up near Asheville. She recently married one of the men in the program and they both left the program. We were hoping she would get the help she needed and be a part of her child’s life. This is not going to happen and we need to protect our grandson. Child protective services closed his case in December. Where do we go from here?

  10. Deborah, Thanks for your post. Once a Chapter 7 (abuse and neglect matter is closed), we strongly recommend that grand parents in a situation similar to yours file a guardianship or child custody action.

  11. Department of Social Services placed our infant granddaughter in our home under a “voluntary safety source” because the parents, ages 21 and 27, unmarried, were abusing drugs and alcohol and there were several violent incidents. They continue to drink and abuse alcohol. What would be the next step to gain actual legal custody? Can DSS do it or will we need to retain an attorney? We adopted our son’s first child by a different girl because of drug use, but we paid for an attorney after DSS failed to act and the baby ended up in the hospital. We do not want to adopt her, just gain legal custody so that we can guarantee her a stabile home until the parents get it together. She lives with her parents and her first child who is 2. Our son says he is trying to get into an Oxford HOuse. We are supporting him at this time because he does not have a job.

  12. You need to hire an attorney to help you. You will most likely need to file a Chapter 50 child custody action. Please let us know if we can help.

  13. My daughter moved back to NC and moved in with me when she was 8 mos pregnant becasue her boyfriend threw her out. My daughter is mentally unstable. My grandson was born on 2/28/11. She has no income. I have supported my daughter and my grandson 100% financially, emotionally, etc. Not baby daddy come around and wants them back. He is a convicted felon in NW GA and on intense probation. I have provided everything daughter and grandson need since Jan. She takes my grandson yesterday and runs away to GA! Back to the abusive relationship. Tells me I will never see my grandson again! I cant let my grandson down. Baby daddy refused to sign birth certificate at birth. Does he have rights? What right do I have as grandmother that has been supporting them both?

  14. I have sole custody of my son from another state. Do I have to allow his father to see him. Since we have lived here, he has exposed him to drug activity, used and sale, in addition to a unsavory life style.

    Thanks

  15. It depends on what the custody order requires. If he is allowed visitation, then you should ask the Court to modify the order to prevent visits because of the substantial risk caused by his drug activity. If no one lives in the issuing state, you can file here in North Carolina. If the father continues to live in the issuing state, you must litigate custody modifications in that State.

  16. The father does have rights to the child and he can enforce those through a child custody action. Since the minor child lived with you in North Carolina for more than six months and has not yet been in Georgia for six months, you may be able to file a child custody action here in North Carolina. To “win,” you have to prove that both your daughter and the father are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parent. You should see an attorney ASAP!

  17. Steve

    I’ll try to make this as brief as possible. We reside in North Carolina. My parent adopted my sisters 2 children 10 yrs ago. Her and her husband were getting divorced and they both decided that it would be in the best interest of the children if they were raised by my parents. The birth father hasn’t been in the picture since the adoption, my sister has been. Soon after the adoption my sisters whole attitude changed. My guess is that the freedom from responsibility went to her head. A few years after the adoption my father passed. My sister moved in with us soon after. She couldn’t afford to live on her own. Since then my sister has basically been a bully to my mom. (Cussing her , getting in her face, throwing money at her , flipped over a table etc…) If she wanted to go out and do her thing she always pointed out that my parents signed on the dotted line and she didn’t have any children. She played the “mommy” card when it was convenient. We’ve asked her to get her own place on several occasions and she’s always refused. It got to the point where we had no choice, we had to go to court to make her get out. All this time she’s never questioned the adoption or what it meant. Now that she no longer lives with us she’s saying my parent stole her children, and she was tricked into the adoption. Even after we “put her out” my mother tried to meet her places with the children , restaurant, movies etc.. each time it was a nightmare. She’d tell the children they were stolen from her, that we were all liars. She’s even told the youngest that we didn’t love him. She even called DSS claiming the kids were being neglected by my mom and physically abused by me. DSS did not come to that conclusion. She had my mother served with papers recently claiming that regardless of what she’s signed 10 yrs ago she’s still been acting as the children’s mother. Now she’s asking for custody/visitation rights. My question is, could the court actually grant her request?

  18. Our son in law is a Marine stationed in NC and is currently deployed. He and our daughter have a 5 yr old son and they are still married. Our daughter recently had a child w/ another Marine out of wedlock; she plans to file for divorce; and has sworn we’ll never see our 5 yr old grandson again. What options do we have to ensure some sort of visitation with our grandson? Do we file some sort of petition w/ tne NC court? We live in TN, as does his other set of grandparents . . .

  19. My 10 yr old nephew has resided with my mother (his maternal grandmother) since the age of 1 1/2 to 2yrs old. We (my mother, steph father and myself) have been the ones who ensure he gets to school everyday, we are the contacts on school & medical forms, we have been the providers for him his entire life (in addition to my fathers side of family as well on holidays, family gatherings etc). As of this week my sister (his mother) has come and taken him to live with her & her husband. There was never a guardianship/custody arrangement in place she voluntarily left him with my mother and agreed it was in his best interest. She has been in and out of his life forever and more recently been a visiting parent or occassional over night visits. She & her husband both have a history of drug use, domestic violence (he has criminal record) and drastic mood swings/mental stability. The cost of a attorney is a tremendous fear and concern right now but the safety of my nephew is f uptmost importance. Aside from DSS what avenue will be best to ensure his return to the only “home” he has known his entire life. Are there any agencies that help the grandparents seek guardianship in North Carolina?

  20. The best avenue is to file an action for child custody. The mother may have acted inconsistent with her constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parent. See an attorney ASAP!

  21. Unless she is unfit or has acted inconsistent with her constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parent, you have no standing to seek custody or visitation. However, if there is pending litigation between her and the father, you can intervene and seek visitation. See a licensed attorney in NC ASAP!

  22. Yes but only if the Court found that the adopted parents were now unfit or acted inconsistent with their rights. So I doubt she has much of a case based on the facts as you related them.

  23. Renee Capps

    My daughter and son-in-law have divorced and recently remarried others. When my daughter remarried, she moved to another city and our relationship becamed strained (her new husband wanted us out of her and our grandbaby’s life). My daughter is always been very close to me and my husband her entire life. My daughter and her first husband moved to live beside us. I went to every obgyn doc appt with her and was in the delivery room when my grandson was born. I quit my career so that I could stay home and be his caregiver for 2 years. Well, her new husband has accomplished what he wanted. We have not seen or spoken with my daughter or seen our grandson in going on 9 months now. Her first husband was going to let me spend time with my grandson on the weekends he had him, but she threaten him with court and more child support, so he backed off and won’t let us seem him now either. What rights do we have in obtaining visitation. How could we check to see if their custody orders have been finalized, so that we might could file a petition for visitation. How could we find out if its reopened in the future so we might could file then. Please help. Its like they have died, but I didn’t have a funeral or mourning.

  24. Go to the county in North Carolina where the child custody action was litigated and the Clerk will tell you if there are any pending issues.

    If custody is still pending, you can file a motion to intervene in the action.

    If not, unless you can prove that both your daughter and her ex-husband are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status (a VERY High burden), you will not be able to do anything until there is a new motion pending regarding child custody.

    You should consider consulting with an attorney. They could “watch” the file for you and alert you when the custody matter becomes pending again.

    Best wishes and thanks for reading our blog!

  25. terry

    my wife and i split up for a lil while back and me and another had a baby iwent back to my wife and two kids of ours and now my ex girlfriend died and her parents took my son and tryin to take him from me by law do they have the right he is 17 months old and they have keep him from me i have got him 4 times since birth and now they trying to get custody of him and let me get supervise visitaion they have sent dss to my house 4 times and they cant find nothing wrong with my wife kids or me i have got a lawer and we go to court on the 18th of this month do they have a good case against me and i was told by law they cant take him from me unless they find me unfit which they cant bc my kids are my world they are my number 1 priority thanks

  26. Debra

    My son has a daughter now 4years old,he and the mother never married. For over two years we have been denied visitation. She took the child and just refuses to allow us to see her. My son pays child support through the court. I do not want custody, just visitation and a chance to get to know my granddaughter as do my her other siblings.
    She refuses to let us know where she lives and will not respond to phone calls or texts.what recourse do I have.

  27. Your son would need to file a lawsuit for child custody/visitation before you would have any right to seek visitation. You can seek custody but would have to prove that both your son and the child’s mother are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parents.

  28. I am glad you have a lawyer to help you with this. Follow his or her advice!

  29. rgrmcc@comcast.net

    My husband’s wife came to live us in TN in 2007 when she wished to separate temporiarly with 2 grandsons ages 1 and 5. Her husband came to TN for she wanted to stay here. Over a tumulent 4 years of them living with us, moving to 3 different apartments with fights, drugs, alcolhol and abuse to mother and verbal abuse to grandchldren. The kids stayed with us most of the time and all the time when mother moved back in on several occassions. After 3 years of husband unemployment he moves back to NC swearing he’ll get employment, find a job and stable apartment as of May, 2010. After 3 months in year 2010 and she and the boys living here, he did none of those things, just lived with his mother. As of August, 2010, mother had filed for divorce and has had a stable job the entire 3 years in TN to care for her children. Father found out about divorce and came across state lines with an Emergency Child Custody claim written in NC which was null and void over state lines. Father took kids from their daycare and elementary school and fled back to NC while mother was at work and we were home waiting for their bus.
    Mother retained an attorney in TN and NC but after 4 weeks – the mother couldn’t stand to be without her children and left with husband.
    He’s extremely abusive physically and mentially to mother and mentially abusive to children. They are all scared to death of him. Since then – this past year – he’s held a loaded gun to her mouth, and since arrested for domestic violance now grabs her by the hair and other areas where it can’t be seen. They both abuse drugs, he cocaine, alochol and various prescription drugs he can get his hands on and she now wants to slip in to obliviane state and goes to every doctors to prescibe her nerve drugs. The kids are the victims here. There is no one in that town – even though family lives there that will help the children now 5 and 10yrs. Both had affairs both obviously wants out, but father is a control freak and doesn’t want anyone to take wife or children away. Both are clearly uncapible of raising two fine children. Are there any Grandparent laws for TN residents to better their grandchildrens welfare and safty? When two parents are self-absorbed and do not think of their children first???

  30. amowenby1@yahoo.com

    My 22 yr old son and his girlfriend are not together,she is pregnant with his child.She will not divulge fetus status information nor anything rtelated to child to him.He works 2 jobs and wants to be a father to his child.The fetus’ mother is a full time college student.What can my son (and I) do NOW to assure that he gets the chance at a relationship with his child?

  31. File an action to legitimate the child as soon as the child is born. And also file an action for custody/visitation. This will ensure all of his rights.

  32. Your post is a little difficult to follow. Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution, a Court order on custody from North Carolina would be valid in TN. If the litigation continues in NC, you need to hire a NC attorney. Grandparents may assert visitation rights in an on-going child custody case or may file for custody if both parents are unfit and/or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parent.

  33. Celeste

    Me and my husband separated 5 months ago due to a domestic violence issue. Since then he has began drinking heavily as he is an alcoholic and shows up for few visits. His father is the supervisor of the visits but because of his drinking yet don’t always get to see her I won’t let her go if he’s been drinking. I recently let our daughter stay the night with his parents because They asked and it’s a long drive for them. So I agreed to try it out. Everything went well and our daughter Had great time. So I didn’t mind letting her do it so often especially on the weekends that I work. But they wanted her to spend the night with them on different holidays ( thanksgiving and Christmas, etc.) that I feel are important for her to be with me. Now there upset and are pushing their son to fight for custody and I think they may push for grandparent rights as well. I’m worried because they have a lot of money and being a single mom I don’t have a lot to fight in court. What kind of rights could they get? I don’t want to have to split custody with them and I’m worried about them having her around their son when he’s drinking. I don’t mind them visiting with her on holidays but since my husbands mother dosnt like me I feel their tryig to push me out of my own Childs life? Might I have to split holidays with them? Thanks for any advice I can get.

  34. You should consult with an attorney so that he/she can get all the facts and provide you with advice specific to your situation.

    Generally, grandparents cannot get custody unless both parents are unfit and/or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parents. They can, however, get visitation.

    See an attorney!

  35. Michelle Mininall

    Hello, I have a 2 yrs old grand-daughter who I hardly get to see because of her mother. When she get mad with my son , she won’t allow me to see her. This has been going on for 2 yrs…what can I do as a grand-parent.

  36. Unless the parents are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status, then you cannot seek custody. You can seek visitation but only if the parents are litigating child custody or the home is no longer an intact home. You should consult with an attorney for specific advice about your situation.

  37. CONNIE T

    I CALLED DSS ON MY SON-IN LAW. I ACTUALLY SAW HIM SEXUALLY ABUSE MY 3 YR OLD GRANDDAUGHTER. MY GRANDSON, 7YRS OLD TOLD HIS MOM AND ME THAT WHEN DADDY SLEEPS WITH HIM (IN A BUNKBED) THAT THEY DON’T WEAR THERE UNDERWEAR. A SS WORKER DID INTERVIEW THEM. THE CHILDREN DENIED EVERYTHING.
    NOW I AM NO LONGER WELCOME IN THEIR HOME AND CANNOT SEE MY GRANDCHILDREN.I SAW THEM REGULARLY, TWO TO THREE TIMES A WEEK AND SAT WITH THEM EVERY OTHER SUNDAY.
    WHAT CAN I DO TO SEE MY GRANDCHILDREN?

  38. My step-daughter is separated from her husband. They’ve not filed any separation papers. They have two children – age 7 & 5. So far, she keeps them Sunday night – Wednesday night and he keeps them Thursday night – Sunday.
    He has moved his girlfriend and her three children into his home. These children are on medication for ADD or Autism.
    He has threatened to not let us see our grandchildren when he has them.
    We have been a part of the grandchildren’s lives since birth. They spend the night at our house, go to church with us, etc. Since this separation, they’ve hardly been able to go to church with us. Only when their Mom has them are we able to see them.
    Do we need to go ahead and file for our visitation rights?

  39. You should consult with an attorney. Generally, you cannot file for visitation unless there is an on-going custody dispute (so your step-daughter may have to file for custody first).

  40. Talk with an attorney about your situation.

  41. Mr. Williams:

    My wife and I have a grandson through my stepson (my wife’s natural son) and a girl that were never married and are now separated. Our grandson will be 7 in Feb 2012. Custody has not been establish neither through a Court Order nor Consent Order. While we have been a big part of our grandson’s life for the 1st 6 years…his mother has not allowed me or my wife access since March 14th 2011. I would like to establish legal visitation rights. Our grandson lives with his mother. (1) Does that constitute an “intact” family? (2) Can we initiate action (Intervene) ourselves? Please advise.

  42. wondering how things works if a family member adopted your kids and by mouth they promise to not keeps keeps away from their family and doest keep their promise is their any thing that can be done? father didnt lose his rights to those kids. and their family misses them soooo much. kids are older now and they have had time to grow its been 9 yrs and the first few years they kept their promise of letting father and family see them kids.

  43. You should speak directly with a lawyer about your specific situation so that they can obtain all of the facts. Based on the limited information you provided, single mom living with the child can be an “intact family” under NC Law. Generally, the father would need to file a lawsuit for child custody before grandparents can intervene.

    Best wishes!

  44. Generally, an adoption extinguishes parental rights. Go see an attorney licensed in the jurisdiction where the children currently live and do it quickly!

  45. Our daughter and her 3 children came to live in our home after a divorce for domestic violence and sexual assault. Our daughters x-husband has been indicted on spousal rape charges here in NC, and is awaiting a trial. He had 1 hr supervised visitation each week for about a year, supervised by me and my wife. He now has Fri. afternoon til Sun. morn before Church. He spends all of his time trying to twist the minds of the children and convince them of his brand of what the truth is. My wife and I have been the primary caretakers of these children as an intact family for probably 90% of their time over the last 4.5 years while they have lived here with us. Should we file for visitation/custody at this time, in case something happens to our daughter, or will the seriousness of the pending charges against her x-husband present a special set of circumstances in case of her death?

  46. My son has been divorced for 5 yrs. & shares joint custody of our 7 yr old granddaughter. He is active duty Army & is deployed. He will be gone for approx. 1 year. Our granddaughters mother makes it very difficult for us to see her during his absence. During a previous deployment we litigated an agreement with the court that allowed us visitation in his absence. My husband & I have been married 25 yrs. & I raised his son. Our daughter in law now says I am not allowed to pick up our granddaughter only the “biological” grandparent. On a previous deployment I was allowed to pick her up from school & have shared many wonderful afternoons with her. Can she do that? Are there any laws that protect the military during deployments? Thank you

  47. My step daughter and her estranged boyfriend have two children 1+ and a 4M old. She and the children have lived in my home for over a year. She has no means of support other then foodstamps and medicaid provided for the children. The boyfriend has failed to provide any means of support other then the occasional box of diapers. Shortly after the birth of the second, the boyfriend under the guise of lessening her burden took the older child under his care and refuses to return him. The police state there is nothing they can do. What are my daughters options and chances should she sue for custody?

  48. Mr. Williams
    My sister passed away in Oct 2005, two days after giving birth to a baby girl. My niece was in the hospital from the time she was born until Jan 2006. She was released to her father & his parents. He was originally staying with his parents. I went to visit my niece & she even spent a weekend with me. He then started dating a younger lady & soon moved in with her, her mother, & her daughter, taking my niece with him. While living there he was involved in a shooting incident, where he was shot in the shoulder, my niece was in the house at the time. He has always said that he’s an “Old G” and involved in a gang & it’s believed that the shooting was gang affiliated. His mother tried to get him to move back in with her or at least give my niece to her to raise but he won’t. He would allow his mother & father to pick her up on weekends & we would see my niece through her grandparents. Things ended up going sour between his girlfriend & his mother & his mother has called DSS on him & his girlfriend. Now he won’t allow his parents to see her. My sisters & I have gone to his house to try and visit but the girlfriend answered the door, lied & said he wasn’t there even though we saw him peeping out the blinds. We were very nice to the girlfriend (as always) but she is just so difficult & mean & evil. She proceeded to curse at us & made a few threats. My niece is 6 yrs old & we have always wanted to be apart of her life. We’ve brought gifts for her & sent her father money to help with expenses for her but still no visitation (except for when his parent’s sneaked her to us). What rights does my family have?
    Is there anything that we can do whether it be grandparents’ rights for my mother and father or anything? I don’t want my niece growing up thinking that we don’t love her & that we don’t care for her. We want a relationship with her but her father & his girlfriend are making it really difficult. We aren’t trying to take her from them, we just want to be allowed visitation. We believe that they aren’t allowing us to have visitation because they are afraid that we may try to take custody of her. If they are doing what they should to raise her right then we don’t want custody but if we are able to see and prove that she is being abused or neglected (that’s just hearsay right now) but if we can prove that then we do want custody but for now all we want is visitation.

  49. You should speak with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. If this is in North Carolina and there is no child custody order in place, your daughter (the children’s mother) probably needs an attorney and you need a different attorney. A custody order needs to be obtained as soon as possible. Your best course of action depends on several facts which are not indicated in the above post and that is why you need to speak with a lawyer ASAP. Good luck.

  50. The NC Legislature enacted N.C. Gen. Stat. 50-13.7A which provides protections to military service personnel involved in a child custody dispute. I have included a link to the statute.

    You need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the wording of the court order, an agent may be able to make the transfers. If not, it may be possible to modify that order.

    Best wishes!

  51. She needs to act sooner than later. She needs to hire an attorney to help her file an action for child custody ASAP! If she can’t afford an attorney, a program like our Virtual Law Office, would help her obtain the necessary paperwork that she could then file herself. Every day that passes with the children in his care will make it more difficult for her to get them back. So see an attorney ASAP or use the VLO.

  52. Baker

    me and my boyfriend has been together for 15yrs, we have 2 kids together and i have one that he has raised since he was 2. we had our kids taken from us due to drug addiction. 2kids were put in foster care the other was given to my mother-in-law, my boyfriends mother. she was given custody and promised when we got our stuff together that she would give him back. we went thru intensive livein drug treatment and got better. after a yr 2 kids were given back to us from dss and our case was closed. we never took his mother to court bc of the heart ache it would cause the entire family and bc we concidered there emotions over ours. we live in nc and they live in wv they always have. we have always went in every month to see him, has always been in his life on a regular basis. he calls me mom and him dad and the grandparent that has him he calls nana. well after 5yrs we have always wanted him back but bc nana is very weathly we were very intimidated by her and her threats, when she was angry with us she would deney us visits, our visits were at her descretion so we had to play by her rules at all times just to see him. after 5yrs of just being beaten up by her rules emotionally and mentally we could not take it anymore. we have tried talking with her about a legal visitation schedule or custody back into our home and she will not discuss it with us. finally we took her to court here in nc bc we were not given a visiation schedule here in nc 5yrs ago, so they heard our case. she has fought us all the way, we got once a month visitation 5wks in the summer here in nc(we never had that before) only 1wk a year before. the courts were on ourside, we had to prove our self to dss, we had to provide random drug screenings which were all negative. she is very angry at us for doing this. now we have a actual visitation order to where she cannot munipulate our visits anymore. MUCH BETTER THIS WAY. but she is still given us a hard time and trying to make it a living hell for us. we want more time and we would love for him to come live with us. he has a awesome relationship with his brother and sister. his nana is a RN and works all the time. i am a stay at home mom and my husband makes a very good imcome at about 18.00 per hour. we have 3 cars and own everything we have. we live pretty good. he loves coming here to visit and really wants to be with us. what can we do to get him back and do we have a chance. the nana keeps bringing up our past and tells everyone that we are aweful ppl. she has even called dss on us several times which has never led to anything but a unfounded statement. she is literlly making our life a living hell and we sincerly dont feel that her home is best for our child, only because she is not sensetive to his emotions around this, and bc she lies and munipulates everything. but she has everyone fooled into thinking she is a christian person that everyone loves and that is good. please give us advice on what to do and what you think is best for our family and other kids involved. thanks

  53. Talk to an attorney licensed to practice law in the area where your niece lives ASAP. If she is in North Carolina and dad is involved in gang activity that subjects her to danger, there is a possibility that you or your parents could bring an action for child custody. If you can prove him unfit or that he has acted inconsistent with his constitutionally protected status as a parent, you have a case.

    ~Mark

  54. Sounds like your lawyer helped you get back involved in your children’s life (or you did an incredibly good job representing yourself). Follow your lawyer’s advice, keep a journal, stay drug free, and take every opportunity to visit with your children.

  55. dee

    My nephew is in prison in NC. His son was born 4 months after his prison term began. His son is now 13 months old. The baby’s mother now has another son (by another man)..this baby was born prematurely. The baby’s mother reportedly is planning to move out of her mother’s home and into a living arrangement with the father of her second child. What rights do my sister and her husband have as grandparents?

  56. I assume the child lives in North Carolina? If so, talk with a NC licensed attorney so that he/she can get all the facts regarding this situation. In general, your nephew should be able to file an action for child custody/visitation even though he is in prison. Unless your sister and her husband (the grandparents) intervene in the custody action, they cannot seek visitation/custody unless both the mother and the father are unfit parents. This is a complicated area of law that depends heavily on the facts of a particular case. That is why they need to meet with an attorney so the attorney can gather all of the required facts to properly advise them.

  57. Recently my daughter and I have come to an impass about her forthcoming marriage and pregancy. She has given birth to two other children whom she does not have primary custody of. The older of the two children lived with me for a period of 4 years while she was suposedly getting her life together. Last year the father of the oldest child sued and got primary custody of the child with my daughter having visitation. Until recently I was allowed to see and speak to my grand-daughter. Since the forthcoming wedding has been a dore subject, my daughter has spoken to the custodial father and they have agreed to not let me see or speak to my granddaughter. Can I seek visitation with my granddaughter now that a custody determination, or is that a lost cause?

  58. Generally in North Carolina after there is a child custody order in place, until one parent files a motion to modify custody, a grandparent cannot intervene for visitation. We always recommend you speak with an attorney about your specific situation.

  59. annauton@charter.net

    i have a very mean daughter in law and who influenced my son to be the same. They will not let me see the grandaughter who was adopted from another country. after they got the pictures they needed to adopt, she turned on me giving me very lttle time with the grand daughter. I know they spanked the child with a wet spatula on a bare bottom and with a belt. the child stays in trouble at school daily. she is 6 yrs old and has been under the care of 5 different care takers. they contantly yell at her in resturants. people have told me of this and have have felt sorry for the child .
    I can alot things documented of what they have done to this chld. When
    I was allowed to get her
    I let her be a child. can anyone help me
    elsie ann

  60. If the parents are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their status as the child’s natural parents, you may have a claim. If you truly believe the child is being abused, you should report to the Department of Social Services (a law actually requires anyone to report suspected child abuse). Talk to a lawyer and provide all the facts!

  61. Debbie

    My question is my daughter had a son and never married his father. As a grandparent I took care of my grandson during the day while they work, when
    they parted ways I still keep my grandson during the day and after school. Since then my daughter has married, her husband is military and were relocated to Maryland. My daughter had primary custody for 7 years. The court then gave his father primary custody(50/50)after her moved to Maryland and he has had custody not quite a year. She has visitation 2 weekend a month 1 in-state, 1 out-state. Do I have any rights for visitation thru the legal system with my grandson other than my daughter weekends. I have ask his father for 4 hours after school one day a month so that we could take him out to dinner and spend a little time but was denied by his father. Do we as grandparents have any right for visitation?

  62. If it is a North Carolina case, you had to file to intervene in the custody action before there was a final decision. I strongly suggest you speak with a NC licensed attorney who can review the file with you and give you accurate advice about your specific situation.

  63. My son and ex daughter in law divorced near 10 years ago, and the mother took the children and moved to SC where she lives with her new husband, parents, and 4 children ( only 2 are my biological ). My son did not fight for custody nor did he keep in contact. We did try many many times to see the children but once she obtained sole custody she did not allow this until recently. The mother does let me drive to them to visit occasionally, even allowed me to buy them cellphones to keep in touch with me. But as I learn more about there living situation, I am eager to fight for my rights to bring my grandaughters up to nc to visit with us. The children have asked numerous times to do such. The living conditions are not the cleanest or best but i do know they are having there basic needs taken care of. The mother and her family do not however want the children to come visit, and have now told them not to contact us via the cell phones. I want to know what route do i need to take in order to see if i have any rights to fight for visitation of them. And does thier opinions count in the eyes of the court? I am also not rich by any means, so i would need to find someone who could tell me the forms and such or an attorney that is willing to help. please let me know!

  64. Stacey

    We live in NJ. Our son and daughter-in-law live in NC with their son, our grandson. We have become estranged because they don’t want us to move from NJ to NC and in their community complex. We have only seen our grandson once, two weeks after he was born. He now 7 months old.

    Do we have any rights in seeing our grandson? Can stop us?

  65. piper

    My in-laws and I had a complete blow up this past weekend and now I don’t want my kids going to their house. I don’t mind them coming here to spend time with them as long as they can be respectable. So I am really not keeping them away, but now they are like you aren’t keeping them from us. My family is still completely intact and all this ends up being as they have over stepped the line of telling me how to raise my kids.Is there anything that they can do considering that they can still see them as long as they come over?

  66. My son and daughter-in-law will not allow me to see my 2 grandsons – ages 1 and 3 – my son is still angry with the divorce of his father and I over 7 years ago and the fact that I remarried and moved 4 hours away. We had a wonderful relationship with both her pregnancies and I was there for both births, but now he has rehased the fact that I live too far away for a good relationship with him – I haven’t seen my grandsons since September of 2011 and miss them terrible – and he will not allow me to see them – please help! I live in North Carolina and so does he.

  67. My son is 18 yrs. and his girlfriend is 15 I want to know if my son can give his last name to his child when it is born. Can her mother refuse to let him do that because they are not marriage. The mother of the child want my son last name to be the child last name, but it is a problem with her mother, she does not want that. Does my son have the right to put his last name they are still together and want to get marraige as soon she turn 18 yrs.

  68. I am in the middle of an adoption and have had a disagreement with my parents that they now are threatening me to take me to court for their rights. They are in no way blood related and the adoption is not final do they have grandparent rights after adoption?

  69. I have a question regarding grandparent’s visitation. The father of my kids, who are 5 and 7, is in prison for the next 30 years for trying to stab me to death three years ago. My ex-mother-in-law, whom I feel bad for, has been taking my kids for weekends occasionally and a week in the summer. She lives in Virginia, i live in NC. My question is this: does she have the right to make them go out of state to visit her? i am willing to let her visit them down here, but I don’t want them going to her house anymore. My ex-husband wants the children to visit him in prison, and I do not want them going there, and I don’t trust her anymore, I think she will go behind my back and take them anyway. She has already made them talk on the phone with him, after I expressly forbid it. So, if I tell her she can’t have them at her house, but is welcome to come to us and visit, would she have any reason to file anything?
    Thanks very much for your time.

  70. nicole carter

    My sister and her husband seperated. She moved back into our mom’s home with her son. For over 2 years my mom completely supported my sister and nephew. My sister started to make some poor judgements and was back and forth, she would sometimes leave her son for weeks without never calling. All this time she was receiving child support for him. To make a long story short the dad of the child found out my sister was using the child support money for her own purposes and went and obtained him. That was in May of 2011. Since then my mom has not been allowed any contact with her grandson. My sister is currently pregnant by a boy who beats her. Also she is serving time for probation violations and is awaiting a court date for larceny charges. To be completely honest my nephews dad is wonderful to my nephew,he just doesn’t allow him to visit any relatives on his(my nephew’s) mothers side of the family. We are not aware of any type of custody arrangements. It was said that my sister signed her rights away. My question is does my mom have any rights to visits?

  71. Hey; my daughter found out she was pregnant 2 weeks after finding out her boyfriend was cheating on her. He didn’t want anything to do with her or the baby and she felt the same so I went and got her from Florida and brought her back to NC. Where I have cared for her and the baby as I have her all of her life. While she was pregnant I was sole provider she got a job about two or three months after the baby was born; yet I continued to provide a home and food and helped out all I could buying diapers, food or clothing any time she couldn’t. The dad has been no where in sight well in March 2012 she found out he was in NC so she contacted him on facebook they started talking he moved into our home. He had/has no car, job or anything owes support for another child and may have one more out there (dna test never done). He didn’t have any identification so he couldn’t get a job. Was being disrespectable to me the entire time he was living in my home posting things on his facebook about me. So I confronted him and they moved out. She is refusing to let me see the baby saying it is up to the Dad if I can see him or not, he is 3 now and has lived with me until they moved out in May. I cut the babies cord and have always been there for the both of them; the dad never has, still is not, my daughter is keeping him up now; too. Do I have any rights to visitation? I don’t care what her and her boyfriend do as long as the baby is cared for but it is wrong for them to keep him away from me when he has been a part of my life and me his since before he was born. What can I do? Do I have any rights here?

  72. karen

    MY DAUGHTER HAS A BOY JUST A BIT OVER ONE YEAR OLD AND ANOTHER BOY DUE THE END OF THIS MONTH

    SINCE HER DAD GOT ILL IN 2001 AND THEN DIED 2003 SHE HAS HAD ANGER ISSUES THAT SHE PUTS ON ME

    CAN I MAKE HER LET ME SEE THE BOYS – I AM FINE IF SHE AND/OR HUSBAND WANT TO BE PRESENT – I JUST DO NOT WISH TO NOT BE ABLE TO BOND WITH MY BLOOD GRANDSONS
    PLEASE HELP

  73. karen

    ALSO, SHE HAS TOLD ME I AM NOT INVITED TO BE PRESENT AT HOSPITAL FOR THE BIRTH OF BOY DUE ON THE 27TH

    IS THIS HER RIGHT ? DO I NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO BE THERE ?

  74. my daughter in law of 8 months ran off with another man and left her son with my son for 9 months till her boyfriend went to prison and then she all of a sudden came home, pregnant with this mans baby and my son started to let her have the baby some, he was real nice wanted her to be part of his life and then she ran off and will not let any of us see the baby–after we were the ones who took him to get all his shots, to all dr visits, stayed up at night with him and took him for his ear operation –which she knew about but did not come to see her baby in the hospital–she changed his daycare and doctor and my son cannot even get him out of daycare cause when she filled out his application she put father unknown (her grandma use to run a daycare so she knew the ropes) we live in Hamlet North /carolina tell us how can this be so–how can my son leglally not see his own son and neither one has custody–i tried to get him to ger her for abandoding them when she did and get her good please help we are heart broken we lean on the Lord for strength–

  75. So this is complicated. I married a woman with three daughters. The oldest of the three had two children. The first was while she was married to her first husband and the second by another man while still married to Baby Daddy number one. She is now legally divorced. I have since seperated from my wife and the Step Daughter and her two kids are living with me. She reveived no support from the one Baby daddy and an occasional check from her ex husband. I am still legally the Step Grandfather. These kids have lived with me since their birth (4 and 7 years)and I support them 99.9% as mom has no job, has no drivers license and no will to rectify either. DUI that has not been adjudicated and alcohol addessment has not been completed after 2 years of putting it off. She has no means of supporting these kids nor does she have the abililty without muself or her mother doing it for her. She is on the list for drug seekers at three hospitals in the area, is verbally and physically abusive to the kids. I am running out of steam and need to know where to turn.
    I have the best of intentions for these kids but I need to know what my options are.
    Please help…..

  76. Hope

    Would you please give a clearer definition of how one acts inconsistent with there constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parent.

  77. Hope

    We currently are fighting for permanent custody of our grandaughter who is 7 and has lived with us for 6 consecutive years. Her parents were never married and there was physical abuse between them, drugs, alcohol etc. the Mother gave sole custody to the father (our Son) and she basically abandoned her daughter in order to enjoy her lifestyle. We involved the mother as much as possible simply because we thought it better for to know her mother. Our son was arrested shortly after gaining custody for abusing her girlfriend at which time the girlfriend and our grandaughter came to live with us. since then our son has continued to get arrested. The Mother has known all along about his arrested and drug habits and that and our son basically relinquished all care of our grandaughter to us. He did come in and out of the house and see her but that was more for his benefit as he used her as a tool over us. the mother was fully aware of all that was going on…even more than we realized…because come to find out sshe maintained a close relationship with our son but they kept it hidden. She never sought to modify the custody in order to protect her daughter. once we filed for custody she and our son “worked it out” that she would gain custody and turn her back over to him. since then she has brought phony charges against us, lied about us, lied to her daughter and about her daughter. she is now married with two children and attending college. however, she continued to have our son around the child and even allowed him to bring his guns to the visits. Our son has no chance of getting custody back but we are scared to death that the court will award the mom custody. we do have an attorney but with no experience in grandparent custody. any help would be appreciated

  78. Concerned Mom

    My son is deployed and his wife has had a child. She is refusing to let me see the baby and told me I would have to fight for the rights to see him because I was never there for her during the marriage. The reason for this is infidelity on her part to my son and constant lying. So, yes there is a paternity issue but, if he is my son’s child, which a paternity test will be done as soon as he gets home. So, what can be done?

  79. sfpandwgp@yahoo.com

    My husband and I are trying to find out if we can get visitation rights to our grandchildren.They are 13 and 15 years old,parents divorced and remarried.Our son,their Dad signed over his rights and the boys changed their names to their stepfather’s last name.Up until about a month ago we were able to get the boys every other weekend,but now the mother will not allow us to see them or call them.We want to visitation rights.
    Can you give us some advice please?

  80. Mary

    My daughter-in-law has worked for an attorney for several years that she is always threatened our son with. Their 3 year old daughter is precious and loves to come to her grandmama’s and papa’s house. The daughter-in-law refuses to let her visit us unless her brother by a previous relationship is also able to come even though he can go to his other Grandparents house where he stays most of the time. My daughter-in-law quit her job, got them in a lot of debt, and my son is afraid to leave because she uses our Granddaughter as a weapon. They have separated several times before and she takes the child and refuses to let him see her and threatens him. The DSS has been called several times and even the law was called after she hit my son in front of the little girl. Now everytime we are around our Granddaughter she keeps telling everyone that her Mom called the law on her Dad and got him in trouble when it was the Mom that hit the Dad and left cuts on him. Our son got a lawyer and she kept telling everyone he was on drugs which we never saw any indication of it and we were with him all the time while he was going through this. We had noted that she was drinking alot but of course that didn’t seem to bother his lawyer. He couldn’t face the fact of loosing his little girl so he is living in hell with this woman. The neighbors are even talking about hearing her cussing and raising hell at their homes across the street from them. The son by a previous relationship has some problems and hits our granddaughter and then denies it. She doesn’t discipline the child unless she looses her temper which is often. He has ADHD and can be so loving and then turn so quickly. The little boy is also living a distorted life because his Dad has mental problems and other children and the Mom according to him slaps him and picks him up by the chin so his feet won’t touch the floor and then begins to slap him. She has a very violet temper which all of our family has witnessed. What can we do?. Neither one of these children should have to live in this kind of environment nor should my son to be able to take care of his daughter and to keep her safe.

  81. My husband currently has a visitation order for our 7 year old grandson. We were granted a motion to intervene 3 years ago and the visitation order has been in place for 2 1/2 years. The order that was granted only gave us 4 hours per month, even though by both parents own admission, they had been heavily involved in drugs.

    The father and my step-daughter have not been together in over 4 years. She gave custody to the father 2 months with her having the child every other week and certain holidays.

    Since she did not have an attorney and because of her state of mind due to the drug abuse, the father and his parents took advantage of the way the papers were written, assuring her that she could see her son at any time. That has not been the case.

    If she wants him additional time, like during the summer months when he is out of school, she has to do battle. The father is constantly saying one thing and doing another. If the father had his way, we nor our daughter would ever see our grandson again. But his parents and relatives have unlimited access, to the point that we suspect that most of our grandsons time is spent at the paternal grandparents.

    I have encouraged her to file for a change of order on the visitation. From the understanding I have, she does not need an attorney. She has no money and we refuse to pay for her, since because of her, we were forced to hire an attorney ourselves just to get to see him. And we had already forked out money for an attorney to get the custody issue settled before all of this occurred. She never followed through.

    At the moment we are weighing the wisdom in going back to court in order to obtain more visitation. The current situation does not satisfy us nor our grandson. Is there even a remote possibility that a judge would listen to our grandson and what he wants? He is very mature for his age and has an uncanny understanding of the whole situation. We live in the Eastern part of NC.

  82. Mawmaw Paula

    My daughter and son-nlaw have forbid me from seeing my grandson and grand daughter. They have used my 5 yr. old grandson against me on and off for his full 5 yrs and now have added my 6 month old grand daughter into the loop. Neither of them work and both have a history of partying in the house with my grandkids there. There is known drug use by both of them. I have no contact with them and would like to find out what I need to do to be granted visitation. I have no physical proof of the current drug use, only words of others. I am extremely concerned for their safety but fear that DSS would not be of any help considering they don’t have a good reputation in Gaston Coutny of protecting our children. any advice?

  83. I recently moved to NC, prior to moving to NC, I was awarded sole custody of my kids in WV. Prior to that my ex-husband had supervised visits with my kids, they were supervised by his mother, who has since violated the supervision by allowing my ex to have some unsupervised time with my kids. My ex- mother in law is trying to file some kind of motion to gain visitation with my daughter who is 11, my son is still in WV going to college. Would she have to file in WV or NC and do the grandparents have any rights for visitation?

  84. Roberta Byrnes

    What does it mean: “has acted inconsistent with her constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parent”?

    My four grandchildren have been taken from my abusive son-in-law and daughter and they were found guilty of something like unsafe parenting practices and some things that I didn’t understand. The cps worker stated that while they believed my granddaughter’s allegations, they wish she would have come forward when there were actual bruises on the children. They could have taken him away.

    Since then. he has refused to admit to anything, as has my daughter. They have not cooperated about anything. Due to my son-in-law’s hatred of me, he insisted that the kids go to foster care rather than stay with me. Two are in my other daughter’s care and two are now in foster care. My son-in-law is now saying that he wants my 12 year old granddaughter in foster care, too, since my other daughter and her husband come to my house and bring my granddaughter with them, as she has a horse that we keep for her and she wants to visit us and see her horse.

    I pretty much raised this child for 9 years – my daughter admits this – and I would like to get custody of her. Do I have a case?

  85. My 18 year old has a daughter from a 16year that still lives with her mother. Our granddaughter was born on September the 7th 2012 we have established a friendship with the mother while she was pregnant.During her pregnancy my son was not allowed to contact her or even come to the hospital to see his child. Since the child has been born we have been a part of her life, my son is trying to get along with the mother and all he wants is to see his child but she is doing everything to keep him away. Can she keep him away? What kind of legal actions can my son take, she did not want to list him down and the father on the birthcertificte.

  86. My son never married his g/f, they have a 2 1/2 yr old son whom they have joint custody of. Each of them has him 2 weeks out of the month. I want to seek custody of the child because the mother is unfit and my son has had to move several times, thru no fault of his own, so he doesn’t have a permanent home yet. Child protective services has been called on the mother numerous times by different people, this last time due to a gun being shot off in the house, but they still won’t take the child from her. I have taken him to the dr’s several times due to insect bites, rashes and sickness. The dr also determined he has excema and put him on medicine to help with the itching from the bites and excema. She refuses to give him the meds for the itching because she said it makes him sleepy so he ends up scratching till they turn into sores. She won’t even use the soap and lotion the dr recommended to be used on him, even though I bought them and gave them to her. I have just learned that she has been seen taking pills and smoking weed in front of him and has him in the car sometimes when she is hanging around outside the bar at 10/11pm at night. He is always dirty, unbathed, has on dirty clothes that are to small and no shoes. She is not using the child support money on him either. She is constantly getting new tattoo’s, cars, cell phones and has no job and refuses to get one, so I know she is using the support money on herself. Is there anything I can do to get custody of him or at least temporary custody until my son can file for total custody since DSS isn’t going to do anything to help get my grandson out of that unhealthy and unsafe home.

  87. My daughter in law attempted suicide a couple weeks ago, my son is a Marine and had always been really tough on his kids, I would say psychologically abusive and sometimes physically as well. I was there taking care of the kids while he was dealing with his wife. He attacked his 7 year old and when I tried to stop him he pushed me. I called the police on him and DSS got involved, my sister in law then called DSS to tell them of some of the abuse my son has done and they took the kids. I am not allowed to see or talk to the kids anymore because my son says so, they are in kinship with a friend but my son is threatening to have them sent to foster care because he is mad at the friends. They have to go to court in November because they were both deemed unfit. Is there anyway I can get temporary custody or even just custody since they are both unfit.? I can’t stand the thought of them in foster care, I keep them every summer (I live in Ohio) so I have a very close relationship with the kids.

  88. dechelleconley@yahoo

    hello mark i have two {grandchildren} from my son and his girlfriend i have consistently put up with how they treat the children they chain smoke reefer all day every day she doesnt feed the children like she should or bathe them and put them on clothes i recently decovered marks on the oldest child while i was giving her a bath i questioned both of the parents the child was taken from me after two weeks when they needed money they allowed her to come back i have been noticing this child behavior kissing and rolling on the floor in a sexual manner this 3 yr old dances likes she’s 21 i have put up with 3yrs of watching things go on when i address the issue and try to talk to them i get this these are my kids people call me and tell me please get your grandchildren because they are not being treated right i have witnessed alot of different stuff that have went on with both of them i would of thought my son would of had more control of the situation by him being the father but he doesnt the only thing they do is run away with my grandchildren im so concerened for them its alot more but it is to long of a story i have sought legal counsel to get visitation back so i can keep up with my grandchildren every day living what are my chances of visitation here in North carolina.

  89. kathyb41412@gmail.co

    i live in NC and i am in stituation back in 2008 or 2009 my kids grandmother on father side tired to take my kids away from me filed a bunch of lies had the kids telling lies there real dad is in prison for muder and has not been in ther life i was gave full custody but she got his vistation and she was getting them like it was said but then 2010 the kids were left at strip mall at ages 9 and 10 by themself in OR.and when they tired to call us from pay phone they called 911 so my son told them what he was doing and why so a officer came out and stayed with them until she got there so now i am worried about letting them go out of state well now the kids are older they are not wanting to go spend all there free time there they want to hang out with friends and do teen stuff well i got mail that she is taking me back to court for contemp because the kids dont want to go i dont think you should have to make kids go when they hit a age to were they need to be able to say what they want and if both kids say that she is mean to one of them because she looks like me and that grandmother talks ugly about me and my husband which has raised the kids since they were two so any ideas

  90. Hi I have two children my wife and recently moved to California to help my dad with his life he said he needed my help well it turned out he is addicted to several drugs so we (me my wife and kids) got out of there and moved in with her parents in nc i now have a well paying job and getting our life back on track after we dropped everything to help him and now he wants to try and get visitation rights but i don’t want my children around someone like even though it’s their grandfather does he have any right and what law dose this fall under

  91. phyllis

    My daughter has recently given up primary custody of her 4 year old son due to drug abuse. they have lived with me since before his birth. I have provided all financial aid. Now the father was given emergency exparte’ and now has primary custody. My grandson is now showing usually strong behaviorial issues that are causing issues in his preschool and in the home. He just wants to come back to us and live. The father is providing for him but does not show the emotional support the child needs.He never paid child support prior either. Because of this I believe is why my grandson is regressing in his behavior. My grandson shows great fear and intimidation of his father and rarely smiles or laughs at the home. He cries not to go back to his father’s house and it’s very disturbing and heartbreaking. I find his home very strict and unforgiving. Is there anything I can do legally to try and get custody of him? My home is the only home he has really known and I don’t want to see him continue to regress. I’m hoping that talking to his dad will help with making changes in his attitude towards his son. I don’t want to do this, but will if it continues in the manner it is. Is there anything I can do? Thanks ps we live in NC.

  92. Dominique

    Both of my children were taken from me because of an injury that we as his parents do not know the cause of because he was not in our home when the injury occured. So we were considered unfit because we unknowingly placed him in an enviorment in which was dangerous to them. At first the case was closed three times then it was reopened and when reopened the children were foster parents for 6 months. Now they are with their grandmother and they are trying to push her to adopt but she would like full custody of both boys. My question is since we are already viewed in the eyes of the court as unfit parents will she still have to prove that issue? Or does the only thing she has to prove is that she is equipped to provide for them even though she has been researched by CPS and approved that she could take exceptional care of them.

  93. lashawna collins

    My question was I have a nineteen year old daughter who has two children a boy that’s two and a girl that’s eight months old they have lived with me up till almost a month go now months pior to that she would leave for Weeks or a month at a time and she jus left the kids here with me and mom mother now I work full time from 11 7America kinda made it hard on me working that shift and coming home dealing with the little ones I have took care of these two kids since the day they was born pampers milk doc appt the whole none the mother wasn’t working the fathers not around but she decided to com get the kids one night when I was at work and I haven’t seen them since and when I ask her to bring them over she said she need for me to find something else to do hurt me to my heart now I don’t above of her life style she has a girlfriend that I think she lives with and now when I ask her to see them she says that they are with a friend of gets mom who watches them for her I don’t know these people like that if she had jus left them where they was I wouldn’t have to go thur this please help I miss them something terrible I jus want to hold them and kids them she acts as if I’m going to do harm to them witch is so not the case at all

  94. You need to consult with a licensed attorney in North Carolina. Grandparent rights are a complicated subject and the attorney will need much more information to give you legal advice specific to your situation.

  95. If there was an action filed by DSS under Chapter 7 of the NC Statutes and you were proven unfit, that can be used against you in a Chapter 50 case. See a licensed attorney and show them the paperwork you have. They can advise you on next steps.

  96. If you and your wife are living together as an intact family, you have a constitutional right to decide with whom your children will associate. If you both agree that the children will not see him, there is nothing he can do unless he proves that you and she are unfit. Sounds like he is more likely to be found unfit…

  97. Children don’t get to decide where they will be and should not be put into the middle. They can have an opinion but not make the decision. If you believe circumstances justify changing the visitation arrangement, you need to file appropriate motions.

  98. I am happy to hear you are working with legal counsel. You should follow their advice.

  99. Sounds like you have a great case. If you can prove them both unfit or that both have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status, you have a child custody claim. Get an attorney and file ASAP.

  100. If you think you son is fit and proper person to have custody, then you have no viable claim for child custody under North Carolina law. And your last sentence implies that you do.

    If this is the case, help your son with the money necessary to hire an attorney so that he can file his own claim and prosecute it.

    You can seek visitation.

  101. He needs to file a child custody action seeking specific visitation. Since she is under the age of 18, a Guardian Ad Litem must be appointed for her (it can be her mom or dad).

  102. Possibly. If there is a Chapter 7 case, you will have to intervene in that action. If not, you can file a Chapter 50 action. I strongly recommend you hire an attorney and not attempt to do this on your own.

  103. I can’t answer your question about West Virginia law. However, if WV is a signatory to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), AND your ex-husband still lives in WV, then WV probably has jurisdiction. My advice is contact an attorney licensed in WV. If they don’t believe WV has exclusive continuing jurisdiction, then we could help.

  104. You can’t seek visitation unless there is an ongoing custody dispute between the parents of the child. Since you say that is not the case, you can’t seek visitation.

    You may be able to seek custody but would have to prove both unfit and/or have acted inconsistent with their constitutional rights.

  105. A child can voice their opinion when they are of suitable age and maturity. However, they don’t get to decide. The judge decides.

    Yes she can file without an attorney but she is expected to know all the Rules of Civil Procedure, Evidence, etc. It is always better to have an attorney when you go to court.

  106. You need to speak with an attorney in the county where the action is pending,

  107. Sounds like SC has jurisdiction and you need to consult with a SC attorney.

  108. § 48‑1‑106 allows the biological grandparents to maintain their visitation rights if such rights had already been awarded under a court order at the time of the adoption. And § 48‑4‑105 allows the grandparent to petition for grandparent visitation rights after the adoption. However, the requirements of Chapter 50 still apply and it is unlikely that the grandparents would prevail.

  109. See http://ricefamilylaw.com/blog/2010/09/06/choosing-a-surname-for-your-baby/ which should answer all of your questions.

    The short answer is that it is up to the mom.

  110. If your son and daughter in law are fit and proper parents and are living together in an in-tact family, there appears to be nothing you can do. It is the parent’s right, under Troxel v. Granville, to determine with whom their child will associate.

  111. If both parents are fit and proper and there is no ongoing custody dispute, then you really have no right to see your grandchild.

  112. No, a fit and proper parent living in an in-tact family has every right to completely deny a grandparent access to their grandchild.

  113. No if she is a fit and proper parent who has not acted inconsistent with her constitutional rights AND you she lives in an in-tact family.

  114. If either parent is fit and proper, you don’t have a case for child custody.

    However, if one parent brings a custody action against the other, you have a valid claim for visitation under NC Law.

    This is a case quite frankly where had you filed an action in the beginning, you would have had a better case.

  115. A mom has the right to decide who can be present at the birth of her child. Unless there is a court order to the contrary, she has every right to exclude grandparents.

  116. Your son needs to file a child custody action seeking custody and visitation.

  117. Possibly. It depends on whether there is an on-going custody dispute. See an attorney.

  118. If the adoptive parent (step-dad) and your former daughter in law separate, you could seek to intervene in their action and seek visitation. Otherwise, I don’t see that you would have visitation rights.

  119. If your son is the father and he brings a child custody action against his wife, then you can intervene and seek visitation rights. Otherwise, I don’t see that you have a claim based upon what you have stated above.

  120. Good luck with your case. We have a policy of not “second-guessing” another attorney who is actively involved in a case. I suggest you put your faith in your attorney and follow his or her advice. If you have lost confidence, you need to find new counsel.

  121. There is no formula. As each case is decided by the appellate courts, new examples are given to us. Some of the past examples include leaving the child with another person for an extended period of time. That would be an act inconsistent with the parent’s constitutional status as the child’s natural parent.

  122. More information would be required to give you specific advice. I suggest you consult with an attorney licensed in your area so that he/she can get all of the details and offer you specific advice and a plan of action.

  123. If there is no court order that requires that you allow the grandmother to visit the children, then you can refuse it altogether. I suggest you talk to an attorney for more details.

  124. Mark, we’re grandparents of “John Doe”. His mother gave birth to him while married to someone else. They divorced and she asked our son to take a DNA test to see if John belonged to him. He did do that and yes he is John’s father. So our son began to see John, never overnight, just some afternoons, and we were able to see him also and take him to see his great-grandparents. All that changed when John’s mother began dating a different man, then married him, and he does not want any of us to see John at all. They have refused all contact, although they accept presents and money ;) for John. There is no court order, no custody agreement, nothing legal at all has been done. We would really like to continue to see John. Is that possible to accomplish that, over the objection of his mother and stepdad? Our son would like to see John also but is not inclined to press it given the animosity.

  125. Your son would have to file a child custody action under current law which would then give you as grandparents a right to intervene and seek visitation.

    Only if the mother and your son are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status as the child’s natural parents could you file an action (which would be for child custody) without your son’s participation.

    So at this point, it is up to your son…

    There is a bill pending in the NC Legislature which would change this but that is not current law.

    Best wishes!

  126. Sewage Cleanup

    Awesome blog.Much thanks again.

  127. Melissa Harrison

    I’m going to try and make this short.A young lady my son was dating eleven onths ago became pregnant the lady said she had a miscarriage.Ok their no longer together.So September we find out the young lady had a baby so me calls to find out if thats my son baby of course she tells me no its her husband baby.So I left it alone since she said she had a miscarriage.Two months later I get a picture text of a baby who look likes my son.I contact the young lady to ask again if this is my son baby.She stated this time she didn’t know becuse her husband said it wasn’t his because the baby was getting dark.We are black and the young lady is white.So I ask my son do he think it’s his he says she look like him.I ask the young lady who name on the birth certificate she said her husband and the baby has his last name.They both agreed on a paternity test.The test come back and its my son daughter.So we have missed two months of her life going on three.The young lady told me it’s best if the baby only know them beacuse we are africian american and her husband is going to raise her as his own.The results on the baby was 99.999 and her race is considered african american not white.So my son just gave up but I as the grandmother is not and thats my first grandbaby.I worry ever night if they don’t like blacks how is my grandbaby been treated.My question is how or what do I do to get visitation to see my grandbaby or should I just leave it alone also.I’m not trying to take the baby from the mother I just want to see my granddaughter and spend time with her as well.She allows the husband parents to keep her and all.Her and the husband are separated.What do I do?

  128. Assuming the child is in North Carolina and the mother is a fit and proper person to be the child’s mother, under current law your only remedy is to get your son to file a child custody/visitation action at which time you can file an action for visitation.

    Best wishes!

  129. My son and daughter in law are legally separated in NC. We live in New York State and see our grandchildren only occasionally. When we travel to NC, we would like to be able to have our grandchildren visit with us. Over Thanksgiving, the mother let the children come for an overnight, but then deducted that time from my son’s (the father) time with them at Christmas. This does not seem fair. I am planning to go down for a visit in February 2013 and would like to have my grandchildren for a couple of days, but I don’t want it to be deducted from their father’s custody days. Can the mother do that? It doesn’t seem fair to my son, and I live far away…about a 12 hour trip.

  130. I live in Illinois but my 2 grandsons live in Raleigh. My son and daughter in law have both had legal trouble due to drugs and all that go with addiction. They sighned temporary guardianship to her parents about 2 yrs ago and although my daughter in law sometimes lives with them, my son hasa not been allowed to see them only on sporadic occasions. My questison is this…my daughter in law just informed my son that she is going to sign her rights over to her parents and that they are going to take mys on to court to force him to sign his rights over as well. I am legally blind and have not seen my oldest grandson in about 3 yrs and have never been able to see the youngest. I don’t want them to have the legal right to adopt them because I know since my son doesnt get to see them now, he will never be able to see them again and neither will I. I keep in contact as much as possible but since I am unable to drive and have a limited income, its difficult for me to see them as. and since they won’t even answer the phone when I call and haven’t in months I can’t even make the arrangements to see them when I am able to. What can I do to protect my rights as their grandmother?

  131. zulema powell

    Ok I have a situation that is very different. I am an aunt who sister pass away suddenly almost two months ago. My sister have four kids which one lives with me and been with me for over a year age 16, my sister younger two kids 6yrs and 12yrs is with their father now, which I have no problem with great he stepped up finally but what I have a issue with is the fact that he has cut off all contact with me their siblings and the rest of the family which I have been around from day one . he did not even allow the kids to come to the service that memory that they have is the morning they left for school and then they never seen her again. He is not someone who has been there now minded you I was not trying to taking them from him but I am now not going to sit back and just say ok well we cannot see you no more that is crazy , my children and my sister children grew up more like brothers and sister verses cousins. What rights do I have as the aunt who have been there like a second mother have? What rights do the kids have as being the siblings ? I feel just because he is the biologic father does not make him a father any man can make a baby but it takes a man to raise them not just come in the picture now and call all the shots. Just not right my niece have always talk and been in contact with her brothers and now nothing this is sad and I need help please inform. Thank you in advance

  132. ladypery58@gmail.net

    I have a situation where the mother of my granddaughter refuses to allow my son or even us to see his daughter and our granddaughter at all. They have a date on the books for mediation. He gave my granddaughter a phone to call him, but the mother refuses to allow her to call him or answer any of his call. She moved out of my son’s home and cut off all contact with me and my husband. She will not allow my son to have holidays or any visitation with his daughter. The few times that he did make contact with her, he was given some of-the-wall excuse as to why she can not see him. At present she will not allow his to see her at all. She moved from her previous address and refused to let him know her new address, but we did a little investigation and after 3 to 4 months found where she move and she still will not allow my granddaughter to come visit or respond to phone calls or text messages. My husband and I raised our granddaughter along with her 16 yr-old sister from birth up until she move out of my son’s home about three years ago and she slowly but surely stop allow her to visit. We picked them up from home when they got off the bus from school, we were the ones that the mother would call at any hour because the girls were sick, we bought all their clothes, they spent 80 to 90% of their time at our home,and they would always call for us to come get them if they were not at our home. Also, yes, she has a 16 year-old daughter, not my son’s child, that we raised, a from approximately 6 months, who I consider my granddaughter and she called my son daddy, up until the move from my son’s home. My son has filed for joint custody and waiting for a date for mediation, but until this happens, what steps can he take to get to see his daughter. It has been approximately 6 months since my son has seen his daughter. The mother intentionally refuses to allow my son to see his daughter. He has made every effort to have one-on-one time with her, but the mother blantly refuses to allow him to see his daughter. They would have father and daughter Wednesday date night, go to her home and help his daughter with home work, and paying child support, and now he and us have been completely cut out of her life. Please advise. thanks. de

  133. My daughter has primary (legal)custody of my two granddaughters, and they all live with my husband and me here in NC. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband has visitation rights – but only if he brings proof of passing a drug test, which he has not done at all since they legally separated a year ago. We have allowed the other grandparents to drop by occasionally to see the girls as long as they remain at our house; however, they are now filling the girls’ heads with lies about us – and making the girls cry for their absent dad (they never mention him otherwise). Two questions: (1)can we stop the other grandparents from going to lunch at the elementary school the oldest attends? and (2)should we continue to allow them to visit the girls at our house? Do they have rights?
    Thank you for your time.

  134. Julie Abell

    Father is a convicted criminal 2nd degree armed robbery and a rap sheet from the jail for drug abuse. He lives in NJ. I live in NC with my daughter who is 10 What are the chances of him gaining vistation rights if I deny him any.

  135. I have a daughter with my fiance’ who is 2. He has another daughter whom he did not know exsisted until she was 3 years of age & her mother decided that she wanted child support. She never allowed him to even meet their child. He pays child support monthly, & willingly went to the cs agency on his own to sign up. At first, the mother wanted to just drop the toddler off for an entire weekend with my fiance without the girl having met him. But when he suggested a couple of day visits first to get the child aquainted with him, she refused, and has never been cooperative again, and unable to contact. The mother of the child has an abusive husband, we know this because we have looked up and found the CDV charge that the mother charged him with, yet they are still together. As well as the mothers’ own brother told my fiance that he was abusive. The little girl is now 10 years of age and has never been allowed to meet her father, it has been 7 years since paternity was established and not 1 time has he been able to be a part of his daughters life. He is not a ‘deadbeat’, on drugs, he is not unfit, and is a wonderful father to our daughter. He wants to see her, but an attorney told him years ago that the case would go nowhere and he would waste thousands of dollars, the attorney was an aquaintance of his parents. However, he has never even known where the child lives, nor a phone number to contact her. It is a classic case of the mom wants money & doesn’t want to have to deal with the father. That, and her controlling husband will not allow her to associate with him to get. visitation. The mother has not allowed 1 person on the fathers side of the family meet this child, and now she had a sister and soon to be stepmother who would love to be in her life as well. Is there anything we can do? This can’t be fair, isnt fair, yet we feel helpless just waiting for her to turn 18, but by then we will have missed it all and she will not be as close to her sister as she could have been. Her grandmother wants rights too. These are good people being taken advantage of by a greedy woman. Please help.

  136. My daughter had a baby when she was 15, (almost 16) so my husband and i let her boyfriend move in to be here for her and our granddaughter… Later on we kicked the boyfriend out because we caught him doing drugs on our property and he and our daughter was always fussing. My daughter (now 17)got mad and went with him, (although that was fine with us because she is so disrespectful and out of control)and they took our granddaughter and stopped talking to us and letting us see her. She is a very smart 18 month old now that my husband and i helped take care of since birth, a few days ago we heard by two different people (at different times)that the boyfriend and our daughter were both doing drugs … even around the baby. Neither one of them have jobs, (the boyfriend hasn’t had one since our granddaughter has been born.)They are staying with his aunt now since they have no way to provide for themselves or the baby.They have been caught a few times shoplifting,and my daughter went to jail for a few hours because of it and for missing court. Her boyfriend is still wanted by the cops and running.They are taking our granddaughter away from the only family shes ever really known and we miss her like crazy!!!!! We hate to make our daughter even more mad at us but we have to do something to get our granddaughter away from all that (since her parents aren’t putting her first someone has to!)

  137. Ellenaswan@yahoo.com

    Until last week I have been very involved in my 3yr old grandsons life. My daughter is mad at me and now refuses to let me see him. She is back living with his father and no custody battle. I want to see him and I know he wants to see me. He even lived with me for several months when my daughter went thru a “phase”. I don’t want to cause trouble, but I WANT to see him. What can I do?
    Thank you.
    L N

  138. My grand daughter has been living with us on and off for 5 years. Her mother comes around occasionally but has issues with alshohol and drugs. Her grandmother on the other side spends every other weekend with her and her father sees her occasionally while she is with his mother. I would like to sue for custody and wondered if both parents need to be served the petition.While I have nothing against the father he is simply not involved much and I feel it is unsafe for my grand daughter to be with her mother. Any suggestions? Thanks

  139. Speak to a licensed attorney about your situation ASAP. Grandparents have rights in North Carolina but they are limited.

  140. You should post your question to our Virtual Law Office at so that we can protect your anonymity and the response.

  141. My daughter and infant granddaughter were living with her maternal aunt and uncle in Orange County, CA back in 2005. The child’s father was an illegal alien and was deported in 2006. The aunt and uncle put my daughter out of the house for failing to abide by their rules. With no where to turn, my daughter ended up in a homeless shelter and signed guardianship of my granddaughter to the aunt and uncle.

    Since then my daughter spent several years visiting her child infrequently. During that time I made several visits from NC to CA to visit my daughter and granddaughter. My daughter moved from CA to VA last year and my grandchild is still in the custody of the aunt/uncle who now will not return phone calls or emails regarding my grandchild.

    I fear that the aunt/uncle are attempting to adopt my grandchild on the grounds of parental abandonment and a claim of lack of communication with my side of the family.

    Is there anything I can do to prevent the adoption process in CA? What rights, if any, do I have regarding custody or visitation of my grandchild?

  142. The State where the child lives is likely the state that has jurisdiction. I suggest you speak with an attorney in California.

  143. In North Carolina, both biological parents must be made parties and to win, you must prove that both parents are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutional protected status as the child’s natural parents. I suggest you speak with a licensed attorney ASAP.

  144. I suggest you speak with a licensed attorney ASAP. It would appear you have grounds for an Emergency Child Custody Order against both parents.

  145. He should speak with a family law attorney licensed in the state where the child resides. He should at least be able to setup a visitation schedule. The one issue will be having to explain why he waited to initiate the action so the longer he waits the harder this will be.

  146. I suggest you speak with a licensed attorney so that all of the facts can be obtained and properly considered. If your daughter has primary legal custody then she and her ex-husband determine who can visit the children at school. If the paternal grandparents are disturbing the children, a judge could address that.

  147. In North Carolina, in the absence of a court order or other written document, each parent has an equal right to the custody of the child. Law enforcement will not assist one parent in removing the child from the other. So you need to go to court and get a court order.

  148. A grandparent can seek custody when both parents are unfit or have acted inconsistent with their constitutionally protected status. A grandparent can seek visitation when there is an ongoing custody dispute. I suggest you speak with a licensed attorney in Raleigh ASAP.

  149. Absent a court order, once a parent passes away, the other parent has sole custody and can determine with whom the children associate. I suggest you speak with a licensed attorney in the state where the children reside.

  150. I have a 8 month grandson. His mother is 17, and his father 34. We have been trying to get an investigation about statutory rape since March 2014, since they were together when she was 15. But my questions are about my grandson. His father has filed a motion to get custody. He says he wants him 50/50, but the court documents say custody. The minor’s father had an assault on a female (me, he put his hands on my throat)) charge and an assault on a govt official June19. On July 4, during an exchange with the child he attacked my 22 year old daughter and him and his mother attacked me. He was arrested both times, and he also had violent charges from the past. We went to court after the first incident and the minors mother tried to tell the judge how violent he was but he wouldnt listen. This, in turn, caused me and my other daughter to end up in the ER. We went to court today, the lawyer was trying to suspend the temp. every other weekend order the judge put in place, but the minor childs mother (my daughter) didnt show up, so the lawyer dismissed the order. Now i am in a position to where i feel like i need to file for custody of the child. I feel like his father’s violent record should keep him from obtaining full custody of the child, and my daughter is young and i dont think she has any objections to me getting custody of him, she just wants to make sure he is safe. Let me also add, when he had him back in June, he told my daughter when the child would cry he would turn the radio up and eventually go to sleep, and when we got him back on June 19, he had a severy diaper rash that had spread to his inner thighs (we have pics; and we also have witnesses and a video of the attack on July 4). I need to know what steps i need to take while there is a custody dispute in place, and what rights do i have in this matter? I am very concerned about the welfare of my grandson, and he is supposed to go with his father this weekend.

  151. I suggest you speak with an attorney who practices family law in the county where the case is pending ASAP.


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