Many of today’s families have grandparents or third parties, like a step parent, involved in the rearing of children. They may even serve as the primary custodian. Unfortunately, these third parties are sometimes deprived of access to the children once circumstances change, like in a divorce or domestic relations situation. While emotionally taxing and upsetting, the decision is typically the parent’s. This means there is limited legal recourse. Some situations do support DC & Maryland grandparents’ rights or those of third party. As a firm dedicated to family law, our attorneys have experience handling matters related to grandparents’ rights or third party custody rights. We have assisted clients on both sides of the issue negotiating or, if necessary, representing clients in court.
Grandparents’ rights are a sensitive issue. When trust breaks down between the parent and the grandparent then access to grandchildren can be limited or even denied. The same is true with a third party like a step parent. This can be a common occurrence when dysfunction is involved in the parental relationship, like in the case of drug abuse. Custody is often temporarily awarded to the grandparents while remedial action is taken to fix the parental problem. Once custody is awarded back to the parent, grandparents or other third parties may be shut off from the children. This has made grandparents’ rights or third party custody rights a frequent focus of family law action.
Family law in Maryland and Washington, DC has left little recourse for grandparents or third parties. The parent has the right to decide and the courts only interfere in cases where the child’s welfare is in jeopardy. However, in situations where the decisions are contrary to the child’s best interests then legal remedies may provide an option. Proceedings involving grandparents’ rights and third party custody revolve around proving exceptional circumstances or unfit parental care.
We have experience in managing these sensitive issues. As always, it is better to achieve resolution through discussion and negotiation, our preferred approach. After all, the main concern is the welfare of the children. However, this is not always possible. In these instances our attorneys are prepared to leverage our extensive family law resources to pursue resolution on your behalf.