3.1 Grandparent Visitation Right Statute
Maryland has a grandparent visitation right statute that purportedly permits a court to order reasonable visitation by a grandparent of a grandchild if the court finds such visitation to be in the “best interests” of the child. In that case, the court held that the parents have the constitutional right to regulate who visits with their children and that right would include visitation by the child’s grandparents. Rather than strike down the statute, the Court of Appeals held that the trial court first must make a threshold finding of parental unfitness or of exceptional circumstances before it can proceed to determine that it would be in the best interest to have the grandparents given visitation. It is only under those circumstances that a grandparent may secure visitation rights over the objection of the parents.