March 21st, 2023

What Are Grandparents Rights?

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Author: Julie B. Christopher

Recognition of grandparent rights is a fairly recent trend and a bit of a misnomer. Grandparent rights refer to the legal rights of grandparents to have access to their grandchildren, either through visitation or custody, in certain situations when it is considered to be in the best interest of the child.

What circumstances can lead to grandparents seeking visitation or custody and what factors might the court consider?

Grandparents may seek visitation or custody when the parents of their grandchildren are divorced or separated, one or both of the parents are deceased, or when there is a history of abuse or neglect. Courts consider a variety of factors depending on which of the scenarios has brought an individual before the court. These factors include the physical and emotional health, safety, and welfare of the child, the wishes of the parents and grandparents, and the wishes of the child (depending on maturity). Other factors include the strength and length of the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild and evidence of abuse or neglect. Each case involving grandparents and visitation and custody is fact specific and unique. Maryland’s statutes grant “reasonable visitation” to a grandparent if it is in the best interest of the child.

How can Stein Sperling help in the issue of grandparent rights?

The experienced family law attorneys at Stein Sperling are adept at assisting grandparents in finding solutions when seeking visitation or custody of their grandchildren. We can help grandparents understand their legal rights granted under Maryland law and their various legal options. In some cases, it may be possible to reach a settlement outside of court that satisfies both the grandparents and the child’s parent(s). The family law attorneys at Stein Sperling can help negotiate a settlement agreement that protects the grandparents’ visitation rights while also considering the best interests of the child. Our attorneys can assist in navigating the legal system, and provide support throughout the often emotionally challenging process.