Maryland family laws grant both parents equal rights when it comes to making decisions regarding the child’s welfare and future. However, the court can restrict or revoke these rights if it is convinced this is in the child’s best interest.
If you’re concerned about the potential for a problem with your custody, visitation or parental rights over an issue in your past or present, here are some things you should know.
Restrictions on visitations rights
A parent who has been convicted of the murder of the other parent can never be awarded custody or unsupervised visitation. Such a parent can only be awarded supervised visitation if the court is convinced it is in the best interest of the child, and that the child’s safety is guaranteed during the visitation.
A parent can also lose or have restricted visitation rights if the court believes they are a threat to the child’s welfare or have been abusive to the child’s other parent. Some of the orders the court can issue in favor of the child or abused parent include:
- Expediting a custody case or hearing about visitation
- Directing a third party to supervise visitation between the child and the abusive parent
- Ordering the abusive parent to meet the cost of supervised visitation
These can be done even if the criminal charges against the allegedly abusive parent are still pending because protecting the child’s safety is so important.
Revocation of parental rights
A Maryland family court may even order the revocation of parental rights in severe situations such as when the parent in question is deemed unfit to take care of a child, and it is in the best interest of the child to end the parent-child relationship. The court will look into the following factors when terminating parental rights:
- Sexual abuse or torture of the child
- Chronic abuse of the child or the other parent
- Chronic and life-threatening acts of neglect
If you are facing parental rights restrictions or termination, you need to engage an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible to review your situation and provide the best possible counsel based on existing Maryland child custody laws.