What rights do grandparents have to see their grandchildren?

On Behalf of | May 1, 2020 | Family Law |

As a grandparent, you may worry about how you will get to see your grandchildren in the event of a divorce between their parents.

Learning more about what steps you can take to see your grandkids can help you protect your legal rights.


Although some states have more lax laws for visitation rights, North Carolina statutes tend to be more strict. There are no specific laws dictating any rights for grandparents in particular, which means you cannot file an independent action by yourself for visitation.

However, it is possible for you to ask for visitation rights while the grandchild’s custody arrangement is being decided. This could be a way to ensure you can be a part of your grandchild’s life for years to come.

Intact families

Any single parent household in this state is an intact family according to law, which means this may exclude you from visitation rights if your son or daughter gets disconnected from the rest of the family. For example, if a wife and husband separate, the grandchild’s maternal grandparents may no longer have a legal claim to visitation if the wife passed away. This puts grandparents in a precarious situation.


There are ways to petition to change this arrangement, however. If you are biologically related to your grandchild, you are eligible to prove you have a substantial relationship with him or her.

By showing you visited often, talked, or even helped with activities, you have a strong case for visitation rights. This law does not clearly detail what you must show, but it is important that you have a strong relationship. It must benefit the child for you to be in his or her life.