Rejection of Child Visitation Rights Under Maryland Law
Maryland law enables parents, grandparents, and other family members to secure child visitation rights under certain circumstances. These rights allow a non-custodial party, without child custody rights, to spend time with the child in question.
At the same time, the Maryland courts have a duty to protect the best interests of any children involved. Consequently, there are situations in which the courts will deny visitation rights to a parent. But this power is normally reserved to extraordinary situations, where there is a likelihood of abuse or neglect.
Evidence of Abuse Considered
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 9-101.1 outlines the types of evidence considered in cases of potential child abuse. Under this section, the courts will consider evidence of abuse by a person against:
- A parent of the child;
- The spouse of a parent of the child; or
- Any child in the parent’s household, including children from different parents.
If a Maryland court determines that abuse has occurred – or that there is a likelihood of abuse – there is a duty to protect the victim and any children involved.
Rejection of Visitation for Abuse or Neglect
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 9-101 establishes when abuse or neglect will result in rejection of child visitation rights. This section applies when the Maryland courts have a reasonable basis to believe that a person committed child abuse or neglect.
In these situations, the Maryland courts must determine if there is a likelihood of further child abuse or neglect if visitation rights are granted to the person in question. If there is a likelihood of further child abuse or neglect, the Maryland courts will deny visitation rights.
If the Maryland courts determine that there is no likelihood of further child abuse or neglect, however, it is possible to grant visitation rights. But the courts must ensure that any visitation arrangement is supervised and will safeguard the emotional, psychological, and physiological interests of the child involved.
Rejection of Visitation for Murder
Maryland Code of Family Law Section 9-101.2 provides for the rejection of child visitation rights in cases of murder. The Maryland courts may not award visitation rights to a parent who has been found guilty of:
- First-degree or second-degree murder in Maryland of the other parent, another child of the other parent, or any family member residing in the same home; or
- A crime in another jurisdiction against a similar victim that would be considered first-degree or second-degree murder if committed in Maryland.
On the other hand, there is an exception for clear and convincing evidence that visitation would benefit the child’s best interests. In these cases, the courts may approve a supervised visitation arrangement that will protect the emotional, psychological, and physiological interests of the child involved.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you need legal assistance with child visitation rights, it can be exceedingly valuable to consult with an established Bel Air child visitation attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including child visitation rights. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.