The negative effect divorce often has on relationships sometimes goes beyond the spouses and their children. After a divorce, grandparents can be denied visitation of their grandchildren, and sometimes have to fight for the right to see them. If a grandparent is being denied access to their grandchildren there are several steps they can take.
The first thing a grandparent needs to try is to develop a tactful and patient relationship with the custodial parent. A divorce is disruptive for everyone and being supportive can help bridge the gap with the custodial parent.
If the relationship is too strained to develop an amicable relationship, then formal or informal mediation may help. Having an objective outside party may assist to bring grandparents and custodial parents together in finding common ground so that the grandparents may see their grandchildren.
The third option is to file a for a grandparent visitation order. Under Maryland law, however, such an order is very difficult to obtain. The grandparent is required to show either parental unfitness, or exceptional circumstances that the lack of grandparent visitation has a significant negative effect upon the children. That is a very challenging burden. However, if a court rules in favor of the grandparent to visit with the children, the court does so because it feels it is in the best interest of the children. Custodial parents may still work to prevent the visitation from occurring.
Signs a Custodial Parent is Defying a Grandparent Visitation Order
Even though denying the grandparents their right to see their grandchildren is a violation and the parent could be held in contempt of court, many still try to prevent the visitations. The signs that a custodial parent is not complying with the court order can include:
- Custodial parent refuses to answer his/her phone or to respond to texts and emails.
- Custodial parent changes phone numbers without notifying the grandparents of the new number.
- Custodial parent and children are not home when the grandparents arrive for a visit.
- Custodial parent claim the child is ill.
- Custodial parents cite that scheduling conflicts are preventing a visit.
- Custodial parent say the grandchild does not want to see his/her grandparents.
- Custodial parent move without notification.
Grandparents’ Course of Action if a Visitation Order is Being Ignored
The reality is once a court orders visitation rights to a grandparent, the fight is usually far from over. Grandparents must be prepared to go to court more than once to ensure the order is enforced. If a grandparent visitation order is not being followed and you need to return to court, it is recommended you retain the services of a Towson grandparents’ rights lawyer to ensure a successful outcome.
The court granted the visitation and will want its order to be followed. As a result, the court may hold the custodial parent in contempt and/or it may impose counseling or mediation to help enforce the order.
In the end, the best interests of the children must be kept at the heart of the matter. If your grandchildren are reluctant to visit, start with short visits in a comfortable environment and build towards extended outings together.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles Can Help Enforce Grandparent Visitation Orders
Towson divorce lawyers at the law offices of Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC represent clients in Maryland child custody and visitation cases to protect the rights of grandparents. Our team of experienced Towson grandparent’s rights lawyers can advise you throughout the process of obtaining a visitation order and of ensuring it is followed. With our law firm located in Hunt Valley we serve clients throughout Maryland including Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, and specifically in Towson, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster and Essex. Call us for a free consultation at 443-589-0150 or use our online contact form.