There are many reasons why grandparents try to gain custody of their grandchildren. Those that do seek custody may have been told by their own son or daughter that they are no longer welcome in their grandchildren’s lives. Perhaps the grandchildren have moved far away with a divorced spouse, making visitation impossible. Other grandparents might feel that they can offer more stability for their grandchildren than the parents are capable of.
The Best Interests of the Child
When it comes to gaining custody of the children or acquiring rights to visitation, all states will consider what is in the best interests of the child. Most states support the parents’ right to raise their children as they see fit, and this includes the decision to limit contact with grandparents and other family members.
Additionally, keeping the child’s biological parents in their life is usually considered the most desired outcome for a family, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as:
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Poor physical or mental health of parents
- Unwillingness of one or both parents to maintain a continuing, caring relationship with their child
- Unreasonable denial of grandparent visitation
- Parental drug or alcohol addiction
Grandchild’s Reasonable Preference
Although there is no set age that a child can decide who they want to reside with, it is possible that that if they strongly want to live with their grandparents, the courts will concede. However, the child’s decision will be evaluated to make certain that it is not based on frivolous reasoning. In fact, the judge will ask the child a series of questions, most likely without parents or grandparents present, to determine the type of relationship the child has with their parents.
Other questions will be asked to evaluate the quality of life the child has in the family home. If the court deems there are valid reasons why a child should live with their grandparents, the grandparents will be required to prove they are physically and financially fit to take care of their grandchildren.
Maryland Grandparent Custody/Visitation Laws
Most states have laws allowing grandparents to obtain the rights to visit their grandchildren. Much like parental visitation rights, the visits will be scheduled at a certain time and for a specified duration. In Maryland, grandparents have very limited rights to petition for custody or visitation. The only time when there is a real possibility of Grandparent custody is when the Grandparent has been determined to be a de facto parent. This means that the natural parents have abandoned their parental duties, and the child or children have been living with the Grandparent for some time. Another potential situation is if there abuse, and Social Services places the child or children with the Grandparent.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Resolve Family Custody Issues
If you believe your grandchildren will have more stability with you or are seeking visitation, it is important to contact a Towson child custody lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. We are experienced with Maryland custody laws and help grandparents evaluate and prepare a case for custody or visitation. To schedule your free consultation today, call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Towson and Hunt Valley, Maryland, and we assist families throughout the state, including the communities of Cockeysville, Lutherville Timonium, Upper Falls, Phoenix, Riderwood, Sparks Glencoe, Brooklandville, Butler, Stevenson, Glyndon, Monkton, Reisterstown, Pikesville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Boring, Glen Arm, Baldwin, Upperco, and Hyde.