Children are our most precious assets. Most of us are willing to do whatever we can to ensure that they are safe from harm. Unfortunately, sometimes we must shield our kids from their own parent or grandparents in order to safeguard them from potential harm.
In Maryland, family courts are tasked with looking at “the totality of circumstances” when determining child custody and visitation issues. This means that courts will consider a wide variety of information before assigning the roles and responsibilities of each parent based on the child’s best interests.
It is important to know that court orders for custody and visitation rights are never permanent. For example, either party is entitled to petition the court for a modification in an existing visitation order. However, it’s important to remember that the parent who is seeking the change has the burden of demonstrating to the court that the change is necessary. In some cases where the adverse spouse has been arrested for domestic violence, this may be rather easy, but it is not always that way.
It is substantially more difficult to restrict visitation rights of a parent who is not openly hostile to the child, yet maintains an environment that is detrimental to the child’s development. This can be made even more difficult sometimes because Maryland law also allows courts to consider the wishes of older children (usually 10 or 12 years and above). Imagine a case where one parent allows certain behavior and activities during their visitation that the child is not allowed to engage in while under the supervision of their primary custodial parent.
Your Maryland family law attorney can assist you in developing a strategy for your request to modify an existing visitation order that best fits your desired outcome.
Source: The People’s Law Library of Maryland, “Child Custody in Maryland” Dec. 11, 2014