Maryland Grandparent And Third Party Custody – Visitation Grandparent Custody
In Maryland, grandparents can file a petition for visitation under Maryland Annotated Code, Family Law Article, section 9-102. The statute reads:
- 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 grandparent.
A grandparent is unlikely to be successful petitioning for visitation over the objection of the parents, unless the grandparent is able to show that the parent is unfit or extraordinary circumstances exist. The court will always consider the best interest of the child in deciding whether to grant visitation. Generally, the court will honor the wishes of the custodial parent and presume that any schedule for visitation presented by the parent is in the best interest of the child. Further, it appears that a grandparent’s petition will only be considered if there is a threshold showing of either parental unfitness or exceptional circumstances indicating that the lack of grandparental visitation has had a significant deleterious effect upon the children who are the subject of the petition. It should also be noted that grandparent visitation rights are secondary to the wishes of the primary parents, and are only available in limited circumstances.
Third Party – Defacto Visitation Rights
Third party “de facto” parents may be entitled to some visitation rights. In order to be deemed a “de facto” parent, a third party must prove the following:
- The legal parent consented to and fostered
a relationship between the child and the third party;
- The third party lived with the child;
- The third party performed parenting functions
for the child to a significant degree; and,
- A parent-child bond was forged.
The parent’s decision regarding visitation arrangements is entitled to a presumption that it is in the best interest of their children.
Note: The foregoing information is provided as general family law guidelines in MARYLAND and should not be considered as legal advice specific to your case. After reviewing the above material, you will be presented with the opportunity to submit more details specific to your case directly to About The Children.
Submitted by: Linda O’Marie, Paralegal (6-7-13)
Call 800 787 4981