Third Party Custody
Montgomery County Third-Party Custody Lawyers
Seeking visitation Rights
Grandparents sometimes wish to establish visitation rights with grandchildren. It is a very difficult task in Maryland. If you are a third party who is hoping to get visitation rights with a child, speak with a family law lawyer to learn about your rights.
Under Maryland law, third parties such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, and stepparents have no rights to custody or visitation except in rare cases. These cases are typically very difficult to win unless the best interests of the children are better served by removing them from their parents’ custody. The law permits the court to award reasonable visitation if it is in the children’s best interests. The burden of proof is with the third party to demonstrate that the parents are unfit or the children would otherwise suffer from lack of visitation with the petitioner.
Sometimes there comes a time when a grandparent or other third party needs to seek custody of a minor child in cases of emergencies or where the parents are unable or unwilling to meet their parental responsibilities. If you are a third party who is seeking custody of a child, please call our attorneys to learn about your options.
If there are concerns for the child’s welfare because the parents are unfit, third parties may be granted custody. Reasons that the court may consider a parent unfit include:
- Substance abuse
- Child abuse or neglect
- Mental illness
If the third party has been caring for the children, the court will also consider the effect a change of custody would have on the children. As always, the standard is the best interests of the child.
Third parties who are petitioning for custody or visitation rights will need a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to advocate for their rights. You can rely on Avery & Upton to provide this type of representation.
Our Rockville Grandparent Custody Attorneys Can Assist You
To schedule an appointment, please call 301-762-7644, or contact us online.