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Maryland Grandparents' Rights

Case Law Provides Precedents for Determining Best Interests

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Maryland grandparents' rights

Case law is more important than statute in determining Maryland grandparents' rights.

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Maryland statutes address the subject of grandparent visitation in a single sentence, which simply states that a court may grant "reasonable visitation" to a grandparent if it is in the best interest of the child. The statute does not provide any means of determining the best interest of the child, but some criteria have been set forth in case law.

One of the important cases in Maryland is Koshko v. Haining. In this case, the Maryland statute was challenged by the parents as unconstitutional under Troxel v. Granville, which states that there is a presumption that fit parents make decisions that are in the best interest of their children. The Maryland Court of Appeals found that this presumption is "implicit" in the Maryland statute. The court further stated that in order for this presumption to be negated, there must be a finding of parental unfitness or "exceptional circumstances." The exceptional circumstances require a finding that a lack of grandparent visitation would have a detrimental effect upon the child. Although the grandparents in the case had helped raise a grandchild for three years, that was not considered an exceptional situation.

See Maryland statute. Look for Section 9.102. See also Koshko v. Haining.

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