Diamant Gerstein, LLC had a satisfying week in court last week. Susan Edmonds, a grandmother whose daughter was murdered in 2015, took in her granddaughter, and her daughter’s other children as well, raising her, caring for her and loving her. Then, when Mother was murdered, Child Protective Services ordered Ms. Edmonds to turn the child over to the child’s natural, biological father. The father is an abusive man. The child does not know the father, has never lived with the father, and received no support from the father.
Ms. Edmonds took the drastic, and very rare, step of filing something called a Complaint for Custody Based On Exceptional Circumstances with the Prince George’s County Circuit Court. It was a long struggle, as grandparents do not routinely have rights to custody of their grandchildren. A natural parent is always favored. There is a two-prong test a Court would have to consider:
- What is the exceptional circumstance (and it had better truly be exceptional); AND
- Is it in the best interest of the child that a grandparent have custody.
Grandparent and other third party Maryland child custody and visitation rights. The law in Maryland appears below: