North Carolina's Grandparents Rights & Adoption
- Since 1990, it has been apparent that the role of grandparents in raising their grandchildren, either in conjunction with parents or alone, has increased. Because of this increase, courts have been forced to consider what rights grandparents ought to have in regards to their grandchild's upbringing and what laws could be established to protect the best interest of the child.
- The rights of grandparents are affected by federal legislation, but it is ultimately up to individual states to set laws and make decisions regarding these rights. The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980, which Congress adopted, mandates that states respect and uphold child custody decisions made in other states. Another bill passed in 1998 requires states to enforce grandparents visitation rights granted by other states.
- In North Carolina, grandparents can make claims regarding visitation rights in situations in which a minor child's parents are in the process of divorcing, separating, or having their parental rights nullified due to negligence or incompetence. In the event of adoption, however, the grandparents' rights of visitation are nullified unless a close relationship between the child and the grandparent(s) is proven and it is decided that continuation of the grandparents involvement would be in the best interest of the child.
- The North Carolina court system looks at two key factors when considering the visitation and/or custody rights of grandparents in the state. These two factors are: the relationship between the grandparents and the parents and the relationship between the grandparents and the child.
- Grandparents of a child who has been adopted can retain their rights of visitation if the person adopting the child has a close relationship to the child's grandparent.
- Grandparents are allowed to adopt their grandchildren in North Carolina if they meet financial requirements and have an existing relationship with their grandchild that establishes their care as being in the best interest of the child.
- There are organizations throughout North Carolina, such as the AARP of North Carolina and the National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights of North Carolina, that provide grandparents with training and financial assistance in order to facilitate adoption and raising of their grandchildren within the state.