Custody and visiting rights of grandparents in Maryland. Many grandparents have close relationships with their grandchildren and behave more like parents than grandparents. It is not uncommon for grandparents to raise their grandchildren. The Brook dale Grandparent Caregiver Information Project reports that the number of grandparents raising grandchildren in the United States has increased by 50 percent in the past decade. According to census data, 16,314 children in Maryland only live with their grandparents. Many grandparents want custody of their grandchildren, or at least statutory visiting rights. Grandparents in Maryland should understand the rights of the state regarding their rights to be in the lives of their grandchildren.
The USA, The Supreme Court has recognized that people have the fundamental right to raise their own children. Therefore, anyone wishing to deprive a person of the right to bring up their child must bear a high burden of proof that the person is not suitable for parents. The court believes the parent is the best person to raise their child, but exceptional circumstances such as chemical dependency, neglect, abuse, or mental illness can override this presumption. The Maryland Courts have found that as a child’s protector, the court is required to act in the best interest of the child and to remove the child from its parents if that is in the child’s best interest. Maryland law does not give grandparents priority over other third parties when looking for custody of a child. There are only “parents” and “third parties” in custody matters. However, the court takes into account the close relationship between the child and the third party who is the parent, Custody applied for if circumstances justify the removal of a child from its parents.
Other factors that the court will consider are: The amount of time the child was away from the birth parent, the age of the child when the third party took care of them. The possible emotional impact of a change in custody on the child. The amount of time that had passed before the parent tried to reclaim the child. The intensity and authenticity of the parents’ desire to have the child, the stability and certainty about the future of the child in the care of the parent.
Maryland’s statutes only briefly mention grandparents’ right to visit grandchildren. The law empowers courts to grant “reasonable” visits when it is in the child’s best interest. The law does not specify how the child’s best interests should be assessed, but the court has determined that suitable parents act in the best interests of their children. A grandparent who requests a visit must therefore either demonstrate that the parent is not fit or that there are “exceptional circumstances” under which the child would be harmed if the grandparent were not granted a visit. Custody and visiting matters depend on the individual circumstances of each family. If you are applying for custody or a visit to a grandchild, contact an experienced attorney who can discuss your situation with you and tell you about your options.