The laws in Maryland allow grandparents to request visitation rights from the court. Grandparents can also request custody of their grandchildren. If you’re a grandparent and want custody or visitation, you’ll be regarded as a third party and you’ll have to provide proof that you are a de facto parent to your grandchild(ren). Here are some important things you’ll need to know about grandparents’ rights according to Maryland family law.
Increasing the chances of getting custody
Grandparents are not likely to successfully petition for visitation unless they can prove that the child’s parents are unfit. In some instances, grandparents will also have to show the court that there are special family circumstances that indicate that the child will suffer if the grandparents are not allowed visitation.
De facto parents
According to family law, a de facto parent is an individual that the court will regard as a parent because of the individual’s relationship with the child. This can describe any individual who is close to the child.
The family law court will regard grandparents as de facto parents if they can prove that the child’s legal parent(s) have agreed to and encouraged a relationship between the grandparent(s) and the child.
Unusual circumstances and unfit parenting
In all family law visitation cases, the court will consider that child’s best interest. The court will also honor the wishes of the custodial parents and assume that visitation schedules submitted by the parents are in the best interest of the child(ren).
To determine if a parent is unfit, the court will also consider whether the parent has abandoned the child or neglected to perform basic duties of care for the child. If the child has suffered a mental or physical injury at the hands of the biological parents, this could be grounds for the grandparents to become legal guardians of the child.