Before 2016, it was nearly impossible for a Grandparent to obtain custody of a grandchild. This was because the burden to obtain custody was high and required the grandparent to establish that the biological parent was unfit or that exceptional circumstances existed. Fortunately, after the case of Conover v. Conover, Maryland adopted the de facto parent status. In this week’s #FamilyFriday article, ERA Law Group, LLC defines the de facto parent status and how that enables grandparents to seek custody of their grandchildren.
In many families, grandparents are the primary caretakers and providers for a grandchild. Not only do they provide food, shelter, clothing, but they also may provide emotional and financial support, tucking their grandchildren to bed, staying up with them while their sick, making sure they brush their teeth, etc. Without custody, however, grandparents can’t enroll their grandkids in school, sign medical forms to consent to necessary surgeries, etc. without the consent of the parents. In these cases, grandparents often seek to gain physical and legal custody of their grandchildren. Now, because of de facto parent status in Maryland, grandparents can and do obtain custody!
A de facto parent is someone a court will treat as a parent based on the person’s relationship with a child. The court uses four factors to make that determination:
- The legal parent consented to and fostered the relationship between the de facto parent and the child;
- The de facto parent has lived with the child;
- The de facto parent performs parental functions for the child to a significant degree; AND
- A parent-child bond has been forged.
If you or someone you know needs to obtain custody of their grandchildren, have them contact ERA Law Group, LLC at (410) 919-1790 to schedule their free 30 minute consultation!