When it comes to matters of custody and visitation rights in Maryland, the state has specific laws in place to address the rights of grandparents and non-parents. While the primary focus is typically on the parents’ rights and responsibilities, Maryland recognizes that there may be circumstances where it is in the best interest of the child to involve grandparents or non-parents in custody or visitation arrangements.
Here are answers to two questions our child custody lawyers are commonly asked about grandparents’ custody and visitation rights and the rights of non-parents in Maryland:
Can grandparents seek custody or visitation rights in Maryland?
Yes, grandparents can seek custody or visitation rights in Maryland under certain circumstances. The state recognizes that grandparents can play a vital role in a child’s life, and if it is determined to be in the child’s best interest, they may be granted custody or visitation rights.
To pursue custody or visitation, grandparents must demonstrate to the court that they have an existing relationship with the child and that it would be in the child’s best interest to maintain or establish that relationship. However, grandparents do not have an automatic right to custody or visitation in Maryland. The court will consider various factors, such as the child’s preference, the nature of the relationship between the grandparent and the child, the parents’ wishes, and the overall best interest of the child, before making a decision.
Can a non-parent be awarded custody of a child in Maryland?
Yes, under certain circumstances, a non-parent can be awarded custody of a child in Maryland. The state recognizes that there may be situations where it is not in the child’s best interest to be in the custody of their parents, and it allows for non-parents to seek custody if they can demonstrate that it would be in the child’s best interest.
To obtain custody as a non-parent, the individual must file a petition with the court and prove that they have a significant and ongoing relationship with the child and that awarding custody to them would be in the child’s best interest. The court will carefully consider factors such as the child’s relationship with the non-parent, why the child cannot be in the custody of their parents, the stability and suitability of the non-parent’s home environment, and any potential impact on the child’s overall well-being.
It’s important to remember that custody and visitation decisions in Maryland are always made with the child’s best interest as the guiding principle. The court will evaluate each case individually, considering all relevant factors and evidence before deciding.
While grandparents and non-parents can seek custody or visitation rights in Maryland, they must demonstrate that it is in the child’s best interest to maintain or establish a relationship with them. These cases are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the child’s well-being and happiness. If you are a grandparent or a non-parent seeking custody or visitation rights, it is advisable to consult with a family law attorney who can guide you through the legal process and advocate for your rights and the best interest of the child.