GRANDPARENT & 3RD PARTY CUSTODY & ACCESS
Maryland Family Law Lawyer Helps With Grandparent & 3rd Party Custody & Access
The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is very special. In fact, some countries even celebrate such a relationship with National Grandparents Day. It is not uncommon in this country for children, who have a great relationship with their grandparents, to be raised by them who would like legal custody of their grandchildren. In the event of a divorce, grandparents often pursue visitation rights to see their grandchildren regularly. Unfortunately, if biological parents prohibit third parties, such as grandparents, from visiting the children, they can have a very difficult uphill battle in getting visitation rights. It’s always best to contact an experienced Maryland family law attorney who can review the specifics of your case and help you take the best course of action.
Maryland laws do not give preference to grandparents over other third parties such as aunts, uncles, or close family friends. There is no legal authority that entitles grandparents custody or visitation rights in the state of Maryland. The law imposes a high burden to meet in order for grandparents to obtain custody or visitation. However, grandparents do have the right to petition for reasonable access and an attorney is the best person to help.
The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that parents have a fundamental right to raise their own children and anyone looking to take that right away must prove the parent is unfit to raise the child. Extraordinary circumstances such as chemical dependency, negligence, abuse or mental illness can override the presumption the Supreme Court mandates.
There are three ways you can seek a court intervention:
- Guardianship – a type of custody only permitted when parental rights are revoked.
- Custody – makes the grandparents a “de-facto” parent and officially responsible for the child’s welfare and well-being
- Visitation – generally honored by the court so long as the court deems it is in the best interest of the child
The court will decide a grandparents role in a child’s life based on factors such as:
- If one or both of the child’s custody parents are no longer living
- If the child’s parent has abandoned the minor
- If the child was born out of wedlock
- The possible emotional effect on the child of a change of custody
- The age of the child when the third party assumed care
- And so much more!
If you are a grandparent seeking custody or visitation rights for your grandchildren, don’t wait another second. Contact an experienced Maryland family law attorney immediately!