A court may award visitation rights if at least one parent is deceased, the parents’ marriage has been dissolved or a petition for dissolution has been filed, or the child is born out of wedlock and paternity has been established. If you are a grandparent, you may face a double loss — the loss of a child and a loss of contact with grandchildren. If both parents agree that the court should not grant visitation to the grandchild, the court will presume that visitation is not in the child’s best interests. In some family situations, a grandparent may wish to seek full or partial custody of a grandchild (rather than visitation). The number is 799-7100 in Richland or Lexington Counties, and 1-800-868-2284 from other parts of the state. For a comprehensive guide that shows separating or divorcing parents how to overcome obstacles and create win-win custody agreements, see Building a Parenting Agreement That Works, by Mimi E. Lyster (Nolo). If a grandparent is the primary provider of care to their grandchild or if a grandparent has lived with their grandchild for a period of six months without a parent, this could be considered a qualifying relationship to sue for visitation. But after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Troxel v. Granville decision in 2000, which stated that there is a presumption that fit parents make decisions that are in the best interests of their children and it is on the grandparents to overcome this presumption, everything changed. A court may award visitation rights if the child’s parents’ marriage has been dissolved for at least three months, or the child is born out of wedlock. But when parents and grandparents become estranged that pattern can quickly unravel. This new law states that the parents’ decision to deny or reduce visitation is presumed correct. However, the state laws on grandparent visitation rights are extremely limited and complex. Grandparent custody rights relating to a grandchild (which are third-party custody matters) are a completely separate issue from visitation rights. This is one way of safeguarding your visitation rights, and it can also be valuable information for those grandparents who eventually find themselves in a custody fight. In the case of a divorce, the case will be heard in the county where the divorce was finalized, no matter how old the divorce case is. This statute does not explicitly determine what the best interests of the child are, so justices made decisions on a case by case basis. In every state, however, the courts must consider the best interests of the child. There is a four-part test which is used to evaluate whether or not a person qualifies as a psychological parent: According to S.C. Code Ann. If you try but are unable to regain access to your grandchildren, either through legal or personal avenues, take heart in knowing that you're not alone. Second, a grandparent can request visitation rights during or after a divorce, separation, custody proceedings, annulments and paternity proceedings. Adoption cuts off all visitation rights of grandparents. A frequent question from our clients is whether a parent can move…. Conditions for grandparent visitation rights include consideration of the child’s best interest and the impairment of the rights of the parents. That awarding grandparent visitation would not interfere with the parent-child relationship; and: The court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child's parents or guardians are unfit; or. Still, a vigorous pre-existing relationship with grandchildren is the strongest argument for a continuing relationship with them. Sorry, it looks like you were previously unsubscribed. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising. Under North Carolina state law, a grandparent may only ask a court for visitation rights in the specific situations outlined above. However, when feasible, mending fences with estranged adult children is a worthwhile effort for all involved. Considering the unfavorable state of grandparents' legal rights, the wisest course of action is to maintain good relationships with the parents of your grandchildren. Determination of grandparent visitation is made during a suit for dissolution of the marriage of the child’s parents. An additional provision allows for grandparents to sue for visitation if the above conditions apply to one parent and if the other parent has been convicted of a felony or “an offense of violence-evincing behavior that poses substantial threat of harm to the minor child’s health or welfare.” Because of Florida’s strict stance on protecting the privacy of its citizens, courts are weary of interfering with the private decisions of a family, thus making visitation rights very difficult. Conditions for grandparent visitation rights include consideration of whether a parent is deceased, incompetent, or whether the child has been abandoned. Be as positive and upbeat as possible. The bereaved parent does not need another person who is constantly requiring attention. The Supreme Court thought that this approach did not adequately protect a parent's fundamental right to make decisions for her children. § 50-13.5(j), allows a grandparent to file a motion in a case where the court previously determined custody, if the grandparent can show changed circumstances that would entitle the grandparent to visitation rights. Grandparents can petition for visitation rights regardless of the status of the child’s parents. After creating a password, please click the link below to login. Compelling circumstances will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but the Court will consider pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. When one parent dies, the parents of the deceased may still be able to have visitation rights if the meet the criteria in S.C. Code Ann. Lastly, they must show that the parent is unfit to deny them visitation or that the parent’s judgement has been impaired. After the papers are filed, the case heads to mediation. Yet when death, divorce, or estrangement tears families apart, these caretakers may find themselves without any legal right to maintain contact with the children they love. Every statute requires courts to consider the best interests of the child before awarding custody or visitation to grandparents. If a parent loses his or her parental rights, the rights of his or her parents, the child’s grandparents, are also lost. The same definition of grandparent applies in this situation as applies to intervening in a pending custody matter. But state laws vary greatly when it comes to the crucial details, such as who can visit and under what circumstances. Several states have revised the statutory visitation provisions, but the constitutionality of these statutes may still be in question. The custody statute does not provide statutory factors for a court to determine proper custody. An equity court may: A court must grant visitation rights unless the court determines that visitation would not be in the child’s best interest. Published October 2014. Name* First Last Email Address* PhonePreferred Method of Contact Email me Call me Details About ProblemWhat County were you charged?Preferred LawyerNew Client - No PreferenceLauren Arizaga-WombleCourtney HullMegan MorganJohn MorrisonEdward O'NealMark WarrenHP Williams Jr.CAPTCHAEmailThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.