Baltimore Grandparents Rights Lawyers: No Custody for Nana and Poppa

It is common for grandparents of a child to seek custody when they believe the parents are unfit to the point of endangering the child’s welfare — and very often, the Courts rule in their favor when it is found to be in the best interests of the child. But one significant Maryland case drew the line a few years ago, in a decision that is especially relevant today to families serving in the military.

In McDermott v Dougherty, the maternal grandparents of a little boy filed for custody when his parents sought a divorce, claiming that the father’s job as a merchant marine — which caused him to be away at sea for months at a time — met the requirement of exceptional circumstances that warranted the removal of custody. The lower courts approved and upheld the awarding of custody to the grandparents, asserting that the arrangement would be in the best interests of the child.

But the Court of Appeals overturned the decision, establishing that a court cannot award custody to third parties, even if it might be in the best interests of the child, without first finding:

  • Both of the child’s natural parents are unfit
  • Extraordinary circumstances exist that would make continued custody by the parents significantly detrimental to the child

In addition, the Court stated that it would be absurd to deny custody to a fit and willing parent whose means of supporting his family required his periodic absence, so long as he arranged suitable and safe care for the child while he was gone.  The precedent has been hailed as a significant boost to military parents, whose custody might otherwise be challenged.

The Baltimore Grandparents Rights lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC provide legal advice and support for all matters pertaining to divorce and child custody including the rights of grandparents.  Call our Hunt Valley, MD office today at (443) 589-0150 to arrange a free consultation with a qualified Baltimore County Grandparents Rights lawyer or contact us online.

av 2019 rating
avvo client choice award
avvo top contributor award
Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC is a BBB Accredited Lawyer in Hunt Valley, MD
maryland chamber
A Message to Our Clients About Coronavirus COVID-19:

A Message to Our Clients About Coronavirus COVID-19

At Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, we view the safety and well-being of our clients, staff and business partners as our highest priority.

The situation regarding the COVID-19 virus is continually changing, and we are following all recommended guidelines to stay healthy.

Although the courts may be closed, our law firm is remains open to serve your legal needs. We are discouraging in person meeting but are happy to arrange for phone or video consultations should you have any concerns about keeping your scheduled appointments with us. We are also able to exchange documents via secure drives or email.

Should you have any concerns regarding an upcoming meeting with us, please contact us online or call 443-589-0150.

Thank you and take care.