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North Carolina Visitation Rights

Making child custody decisions is probably one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. This is especially true since most soon-to-be exes tend to be at odds with each other and have a hard time working together to come up with a custody and visitation plan. So, in order to facilitate these decisions - and to look out for the best interests of the child - states have child custody laws. In North Carolina, child custody decisions - including visitation - are determined based on what will promote the interest and welfare of the child.

North Carolina Visitation Rights at a Glance

Even though it's important to read the actual statute when looking for answers to a legal question, it can also be beneficial to read a summary of the statute in plain English. The following chart provides a summary of North Carolina visitations rights, and links to relevant statutes.


North Carolina General Statutes Sections 50-13.1 to 50-13.8

Determining Visitation Rights

Child custody orders include visitation, which is determined based on how best to promote the interest and welfare of the child. Regardless of the visitation schedule, each parent has equal access to the child's health, welfare, and education of the child (unless there's a court order to the contrary).

A custody order, including visitation, may have a condition that requires either or both parents to abstain from consuming alcohol, and may additionally require the parent(s) to submit to a continuous alcohol monitoring system. Failure to comply with such a condition can result in civil or criminal contempt.

Visitation via Electronic Communication

A custody order may include visitation rights via electronic communication (i.e. phone, e-mail, instant messaging, video chat, etc.). When deciding to grant such visitation rights the court considers the following factors:

  • If electronic communication is in the best interest of the minor child;
  • If the equipment to communicate electronically is available, accessible, and affordable to the parents; and
  • Any other factor the court determines is relevant.

Electronic communication may be used to supplement visitation with the child, but not as a replacement for custody or visitation. Additionally, electronic communication can't be used as a factor in calculating child support nor can it be used to justify the relocation of the custodial parent.

Visitation Rights for Grandparents

At the court's discretion, a child custody order can include grandparent visitation rights.

A grandparent includes the biological grandparent of a child who is adopted by a stepparent or a relative of the child, as long as there's a "substantial relationship" between the child and grandparent.

A biological grandparent isn't entitled to visitation rights if a child has been adopted by adoptive parents and both of the child's biological parents have terminated their parental rights.

Related Statute(s)

North Carolina General Statutes Section 50A-101, et seq. (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

North Carolina Visitation Rights: Related Resources

If you'd like more information related to this topic, you can visit the links below:

Questions About North Carolina Visitation Rights? Contact an Attorney

Divorce is generally a difficult process where emotions can run high, making it hard to communicate with your soon-to-be ex. This is especially true when issues of child custody must be decided. If you'd like to learn more about North Carolina visitation rights, or would like help with any aspect of child custody or child support, it's best to contact an experienced child custody lawyer near you today.

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