The unconditional love of grandparents transcends age and culture. Parents who are unable to provide stable care may entrust their children to a grandparent. In some cases, grandparents become the primary caretakers of their grandkids.
While a seasoned child custody attorney can help grandparents gain custody of grandkids and navigate any difficulties that arise from a parent’s objections. A Rockville grandparents’ rights lawyer can help fight for your grandkid’s best interests during custody and visitation proceedings. Be advised that, generally, grandparents do not have independent rights from the parents in Maryland, however, there are circumstances where the parents are unfit or other circumstances where a grandparent has a likelihood of success to obtain custody of their grandchildren.
Rights of Family Members During Rockville Custody Proceedings
Grandparents related to a child by blood, adoption, or marriage qualify as “kinship parents.” Maryland Family Code §5-534 states that in all cases where children come into state care, kinship parents have first priority for placement. Child Protective Services (CPS) must spend time and resources to locate eligible family members such as grandparents before transferring a child to a foster home.
Courts may award grandparents physical custody of children who have been removed from their parents’ care if doing so serves a child’s best interest. Custody rights may include temporary placement with a grandparent to ensure that the child stays in a stable home while their parent seeks mental health treatment or long-term care. A local attorney can help grandparents assert their custody rights or prove that an existing parenting arrangement is not in the best interest of the children.
Requesting Visitation Rights for Grandparents in Rockville
Md. Fam. Code §9-102 allows grandparents to request court-ordered visitation with a grandchild. Since grandparents do not have an inherent right to visitation with their grandchildren, judges must determine whether a petitioning grandparent will be awarded any time with the minor child in question. A local lawyer from our firm can help fight for grandparents’ visitation rights.
Analyzing the Best Interests of the Child in Grandparents’ Rights Cases
In all custody and visitation cases, courts must determine whether placing children with their grandparents serves the grandkids’ best interests and whether both parents are unfit. Judges will defer to the parent’s’ wishes on grandparent’s access when determining if grandparents will be awarded any visitation with their grandchildren.
Grandparents do not have an inherent right to access and visitation with their grandchildren like the parents do. However, should the grandparent be determined to be a ‘de facto’ parent, or there are other exceptional circumstances, the grandparents may be successful in petitioning the court for custody or access with the minor children.
Some of the factors the court may consider in a best interest custody analysis is:
- The proximity of grandparents to the child’s school and social life
- Any history of abuse or drug use
- The grandparent’s age, health, and overall fitness to care for their grandchild
- The relationship between the petitioning grandparent and the grandchild
- The ability of the grandparent to foster healthy family relationships
- The suitability of the grandparent’s home
- The grandparent’s financial and job situation
- The child’s wishes if they are of a certain age.
Fighting for a grandparent’s right to custody and visitation in Rockville often requires professional legal guidance.
Compassionate Rockville Attorney for Grandparents’ Rights
Do not let your grandchildren enter foster care without fighting for your custodial rights. Grandparents may also request legal visitation rights or work out the details with the parent(s) themselves, who may agree to the grandparents having custody of their children. In an emergency, the grandparents may petition the court to award them temporary emergency custody of their grandchildren.
Speaking with a Rockville grandparents’ rights lawyer can help you prepare for a visitation hearing and understand state kinship care laws. Call our family law team today for a case analysis.