There may be no issue of greater significance in a person’s life than decisions related to the custody and well-being of their children. In Maryland, there exists a presumption that the natural parents are the proper custodians of the child with the ability to make decisions related to their health and well-being. This presumption is consistent with the seminal Supreme Court Case, Troxel v. Granville, which recognized a parent’s fundamental right to make decisions concerning their children is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
This does not, however, preclude a non-parent from seeking custody of a child. In fact, third-party custody of children is one of the most rapidly evolving areas of family law in Maryland. Since 2016, Maryland courts have begun re-examining the rights of particular category of third-parties to seek custody of children. This includes the recognition of a de facto parent, who may be treated like a natural parent as a result of the de facto parent’s relationship to the child. De facto parenthood may be established where the natural parents of a child consent to and foster the de facto parent’s relationship with the child, the de facto parent has lived with the child, the de facto parent performs parental functions for the child, and a parent-child bond exists between the de facto parent and the child.
Third-party custody is a complex field of law, that continues to develop rapidly each time Maryland’s appellate courts revisit the topic. The attorneys at Stevens Palmer, LLC, possess a wealth of knowledge and experience in all areas of family law, including those related to third-party custody, visitation and child support. The attorneys at Stevens Palmer, LLC regularly represent and advise clients on these matters, and advocate for those clients in court when litigation is required. If you encountered a situation involving the custody of a loved one and need assistance, attorneys Patrick Palmer and Justin Hoyt are able to help and can be reached at (410) 758-4600 or learn more at www.spp-law.com.