When people get divorced, it usually affects more family members than simply the husband and wife. For couples with children, it affects where the kids live and when they get to see their extended family members. This can put a strain on some family relationships. Some states have specific visitation rights for grandparents so that children don’t lose contact with their grandparents on either side of the family, regardless of who has custody. Maryland law doesn’t make such dramatic provisions. Instead, it boils down to the simple concept of “reasonable visitation” as long as it’s in the best interests of the children. This can affect families in a variety of ways.
Maryland law leaves it up to fit parents to determine what the best interests of the children are and what reasonable visitation means. In the process of dissolving a marriage and determining custody and visitation, it is a good idea for spouses to talk over their individual situations with their lawyer. It may or may not be an important element to put into a custody agreement. In some cases, it can make things easier. In others, it only muddies the waters.
For grandparents who live near their grandchildren but are related to the non-custodial parent, it may be harder for them to come to an understanding with the custodial parent over what reasonable visitation means. Sometimes it is simply a matter of seeing the kids when they are with the non-custodial parent.
Another scenario may involve one of the children’s parents being uncomfortable with the grandparent’s supervision or perhaps the grandparent’s lifestyle choices. In these cases, it is important for the parent objecting to have some proof that grandparent visitation is not in the best interests of the children.
In divorce, there is sometimes animosity between family members and one or some of their former in-laws. While it’s not important that the parties like each other, it is important that the kids have a healthy relationship with all family members when possible without concern for adult relationships.
The Bethesda attorneys at Hecht & Associates can help you determine if your rights as a grandparent have been violated. To set up a consultation appointment, contact our office at 301-587-2099.