Questions and Answers

My ex’s parents filed for custody for my three children in Maryland. I live in UK. What should I do?

I got married to a UK Citizen and live in the UK for about 3 years. I left my three children under 10 With the Mother. Their mother had a stroke some time in April of 2009. No one notified me I got the information through court records.becasue my ex’s parents filed for guardianship for my ex. and by law I could get emergency custody and take all my three children to UK. But I did not do that. I thought they should be around their Mom. But now my ex’s parents filed custody paper and sent them to me in UK.. I have 90 days to respond. What are my options?

ANSWER

Under Maryland Law and US Law, parents have a fundamental and constitutionally protected right to parent their children. This right can only be overcome if a third party (i.e. the maternal grandparents) can show that both parents are unfit or there are “exceptional circumstances” that warrant custody being granted to a third party. Defining “exceptional circumstances” is where the custody battle is fought. Most Courts and Judges require the third party to show that the children will be harmed is left with the natural parents or removed from the care of the third party. Assuming you are a fit parent and you can care and provide for the children, your right to parent and have custody of your natural children will trump the maternal grandparents’ custody case. All this being said, please consider what is best for the children before you decide to exercise your fundamental right. You know your children well enough to know what is truly best for them. Please consult an attorney and make sure you file an Answer with the court within the 90 days of being served.

Back to Questions