In an opinion issued on March 16, 2021, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held that a trial court’s award of visitation to paternal grandparents pursuant to North Carolina’s grandparent visitation statutes violated mother’s constitutional right to control with whom her children associate.
Mother and father settled custody by a consent custody order when they divorced. When father became ill a few years later, he began living with his parents and he filed a motion to modify custody. His parents also filed a motion to intervene and filed a claim for visitation pursuant to the grandparent visitation statutes, GS 50-13.2(b1) and 50-13.5(j). The trial court granted the grandparents’ motion to intervene, but father died before the court heard his motion to modify or grandparents’ request for visitation. Following his death, the trial court entered a permanent order granting mother primary physical and legal custody and awarding grandparents extensive visitation rights. Mother appealed.Continue Reading