The holidays are a time for family, but if that family involves divorced parents, grandparents may be out of the picture when it comes to where the grandchildren will spend the holidays. When parents go through divorce, child custody arrangements often include visitation times for the non-custodial parent, and the court anticipates that both parents plan for their children to spend time with grandparents and extended family.
However, in the real world, this is not always possible, and finding the time for children to visit grandparents may be difficult due to:
- One or more parties living several hours away
- Busy work, sports, and school schedules
- One parent limiting availability of children
Although it is advisable for grandparents to talk to their own children about fitting into the visitation schedule, if nothing can be done, grandparents do have options.
Maryland Grandparent Visitation Rights
Maryland law does allow grandparents to ask the court for visitation rights, and they can file a petition for visitation under Maryland Family Law. However, those that plan to do so should understand that the court bases visitation and custody decisions for third parties on what is in the best interests of the child. The courts also recognize that parents have the constitutional right to direct the way their children are raised.
In other words, grandparents may not be successful petitioning the court for visitation rights to their grandchild if it is against the parents’ wishes, and the grandparents cannot prove that this objection is unreasonable. Exceptions to this include the following scenarios:
- One or both parents are unfit
- One parent is deceased
- Grandchild would suffer a loss of well-being
Additionally, if a parent denied a grandparent visitation completely and could not prove that the decision to do so was in the best interest of the child, the court may be inclined to award grandparents visitation. However, grandparents who see their grandchildren occasionally will probably not be awarded additional visitation time without the extenuating circumstances mentioned above.
Best Interests of the Child
Regarding grandparent visitation, there are many factors a judge might consider when determining the best interests of the child. The most common include:
- Grandchildren’s wishes and their relationship with grandparents
- The parent’s relationship with the grandparents
- Grandparents’ and biological parents’ physical and mental health
- The child’s physical and emotional needs
- Evidence of abuse, domestic violence, or criminal history of the grandparents
Bel Air Grandparents’ Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Assist Families with Child Custody and Visitation Issues
A divorce affects the whole family. If you are seeking visitation with your grandchildren, contact an experienced Bel Air grandparents’ lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Child visitation and custody laws are complicated. Make sure your story is heard by an expert who can help you navigate through this difficult time. For a free consultation, contact us online today or call us at 443-589-0150. We proudly serve clients throughout Maryland, including the areas of Hunt Valley, Westminster, Baltimore, Bel Air, Columbia, Baltimore County, and the communities of Monkton, Sparks, and Parkton.