Can Grandparents Claim Custody of Their Grandchildren?
There are several reasons why grandparents may want to pursue custody of their grandchildren. In North Carolina, grandparents are allowed to pursue custody if the situation calls for it. If you are a grandparent thinking about fighting for custody of your grandchildren, a good place to start is to contact an attorney with experience working on child custody cases. Fortunately, Arnold & Smith, PLLC with offices in Charlotte, Monroe and Mooresville, North Carolina is standing by to help you every step of the way.What Does the Custody Process Look Like?
Similar to any other type of custody battle, the process for grandparents seeking custody of their grandchildren can be lengthy and complex but so worth it in the end. One of the main things the court will have to do is determine which party is best suited to care for the children. The court may decide it is in the best interest of the children to remain with both parents, one parent, an aunt or uncle, or the grandparents. To make an informed decision, the court will analyze information and evidence presented by the party seeking custody, which in this case would be the grandparents. Essentially, if they can prove that the parents are unfit, the grandparents will have to prove that it would be in the children’s best interest for the grandparents to have custody. Additionally, they will also have to prove their home environment is safe and secure with the goal always being what is best for the child.When can Grandparents Seek Custody?
For grandparents to get custody of their grandchildren, they must prove that both parents are unable or unfit to properly care for the children. There are numerous scenarios where a court may deem parents unfit, and when this happens, grandparents may seek custody. Some of the most common scenarios include the following:
- Financial troubles
- Mental illness
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse
- Unsafe, dangerous living space
- Child abandonment
Unfortunately, when children are adopted by non-family members, grandparents lose their visitation rights in the state of North Carolina. That is because when biological parents terminate their custody rights, any rights the grandparents have will be effectively terminated, as well.Can Custody Orders be Changed?
In North Carolina, the court understands that family situations change, and sometimes the dynamics of a home shift and change over time. When this happens, grandparents have the right to request a change to custody orders, as long as they are able to produce evidence to support their case.
Whenever children are involved, North Carolina courts are very interested in keeping families together and will work to protect parental rights whenever possible. However, sometimes circumstances change and courts must consider alternative care for children when their parents are unfit or unable to care for them. Fortunately, grandparents often step forward to help care for their grandchildren. They also have the right to pursue custody and the responsibility to care for and raise their grandchildren.
If you are a grandparent in this position, but do not know how to start the custody process, contact a child custody attorney. The team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC has years of experience working on child custody cases. Contact our office today at 704.370.2828 to schedule a consultation either online, over the phone or in-person at one of our offices located conveniently around the Charlotte region in Uptown Charlotte, Monroe and Mooresville.