Third party custody is when someone has custody of the child who is not the child’s parent, either biologically or through adoption. There are a variety of reasons why someone other than a biological parent might petition the court for custody of a minor child.
In such instances where neither biological parent is available to exercise custody of the minor child, a friend or other family member might step forward to petition the court for custody of the child, so as to avoid having the child going into foster care. Third-party custody statutes place “a high threshold burden on a petitioner seeking non-parental custody.” To meet this heightened standard, a party seeking to interfere with a parent’s liberty interest in the custody of her children must show that the parent is either unfit or custody with the parent would result in actual detriment to the child’s growth and development.
Similar to an adoption, third party custody is one of the most difficult legal paths you can take. The main difference between adoption and third party custody is that the link between the original biological parents and the child still exist. The rewards of successfully obtaining third party custody orders are endless.
It is not enough to merely assert that the natural parents are doing a poor job. Even if third party custody would be in the best interests of the child because you can provide a “better home,” Maryland courts are reluctant to supersede the rights of parents.
If child's wellbeing is in jeopardy and you are going to move forward with seeking third party custody contact our Glen Burnie divorce and family law attorneys today! Contact our lawyers in Cambridge and Glen Burnie to determine how we can assist. Schedule an initial consultation below or call us at (410) 760-9433.