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What Are Grandparents’ Rights To Custody Or Visitation In Maryland?

It is common in this country for children to be raised by grandparents who would like legal custody of their grandchildren. In the event of divorce, grandparents often pursue visitation rights to see their grandchildren regularly. Each state determines grandparents’ rights to custody or visitation differently based on their statutes and case laws. When concerned about obtaining visitation or custody in Rockville, a grandparent should consult an experienced child custody lawyer.

Maryland laws on grandparents’ rights do not give preference to grandparents over other third parties who seek custody. In the state of Maryland, there is no legal authority entitling grandparents custody or visitation of children of either parent. Grandparents do have the right to petition for reasonable access.  If the court determines the award is in the best interests of the children, their petition will be allowed. Factors determining the best interests of the children include:

  • If one or both of the child’s parents are no longer living
  • If the child’s parent has abandoned the minor
  • If the child was born out of wedlock

In cases where the child has been under the care of the grandparents, the court will take into account the amount of time the child has been away from their parent and how long they have been in their grandparent’s care. The emotional effect on the child of a change in custody will also be considered. The court will also consider any other relevant factors if no other reasonable alternative exists.

The U.S. Supreme Court asserts that parents have the fundamental right to control the upbringing of their children. If the parents object to the grandparents’ visitation, the grandparents’ petition is unlikely to be successful — unless they can demonstrate that the parent is unfit or that extraordinary circumstances exist. By working with a Rockville child custody attorney, you can determine the prospects for obtaining child custody or visitation rights.

The Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee has the experience, knowledge and legal skill needed to help clients with even the most contentious family law disputes. She works hard to help clients meet their objectives.

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