Complications may occur due to divorces and not just parents are specified to gain custody of a child, relatives such as grandparents are also able to gain custody of their grandchild. However, the court always priorities the parents in awarding custody, as the law states that parents “are the joint natural guardians of their children”. The grandparents usually are awarded custody by the court of Maryland in situations where the natural parents or foster parents are unfit for custody of their child.
Nevertheless, there are several reasons that grandparents might want to pursue custody or visitations of their grandchild.
The grandparents of a child are usually qualified as a third party in a custody case. The grandparents can be de facto parents of a child, especially if the grandparents are proven to have taken primary care of the child. A court may consider grandparents as de facto parents, if the following is proven:
- The grandparents have lived with the child at one point.
- The natural parent or foster parent of the child verifies the relationship between his or her child and the grandparents.
- A parent-child bond have been developed during a period of time and the bond is in the best favor of the child.
- The grandparents have taken care of the child, as a parent would have.
In Maryland, if the grandparents are the de facto parents of their grandchild, the court may later grant the grandparents custody over their grandchild.
The visitation rights of the grandparents are stated by the law that “An Equity Court may: consider a Petition for reasonable visitation of a grandchild by a grandparent; and if the court finds it to be in the best interest of the child, grant visitation rights to a grandparent.”
However, if the parent believes that it is in the best interest of the child to restrict visitations with his or her grandparents, then the court may not interfere. If the court of Maryland believes that the prohibition of the grandparent’s visitation is affecting the child in a bad way, the court can suspend the custody of the parent and allow visitation of the grandparents. The parent has the right to decide who has visitation rights to his or her child and thus grandparents are granted visitation only if the parents are considered to be incapable of providing the best welfare to their child, or when there are special circumstances regarding the welfare of the child.
Therefore, it is improbable that grandparents are granted visitation by the court of the state of Maryland if the parents protest to allow the grandparents of their child to be granted visitation. Except if the grandparents are able to prove that the parents of the child are unqualified to take care of the well being of the child due to substance use, illegal commotion, abandonment, or child abuse, or if the grandparents are able to present prove to the court that the denial of visitation with the child is inflicting harm upon the child.
If you need a Maryland grandparents lawyer to help you with your child custody case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland grandparents attorneys can help you.