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Christopher B, Esq.
Christopher B, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  associate attorney
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I have questions concerning grandparents rights to see their

Customer Question

I have questions concerning grandparents rights to see their grandchild in public if the parents refuse visitation rights?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today. Thank you for your question and for using justanswer.com. Give me a bit and I will draft you an answer.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Unless they are divorced and getting custody ordered by the court, then no, you cannot do so legally. The family must not be "intact" to request this from the court. The basic law states that grandparents only have a right to intervene and seek visitation while the custody case is ongoing. Once parents have already reached an agreement on custody, or when the court has already decided the custody, grandparents generally can no longer seek visitation.

When the courts are determining the extent of grandparents’ rights, they typically consider:

(1) The relationship between the parents and grandparents. Is this a healthy relationship that is in the child’s best interest?

(2) The relationship between the grandparents and children. Have they spent time together in the past, or is this a new request?

According to NC statute, biological grandparents retain standing to request court ordered visitation as long as they have a "substantial" relationship with the child. The statute does not define a substantial relationship, but if the grandchild has lived with the grandparents for a significant period of time, that should constitute a substantial relationship. Having the grandchildren visit often or stay overnight is also a plus for grandparents.

The state of North Carolina has four statutes that allow a grandparent to maintain an action for custody of a grandchild:

(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.”

(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….”

(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…”

(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.”

Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer if satisfied. There should be smiley faces or numbers from 1-5 to choose from. This extra step will cost you nothing extra and will be greatly appreciated.

Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Just checking back, do you have any further questions?