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Thoreau (T-USA)
Thoreau (T-USA), Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9176
Experience:  Attorney
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my wife & I live in MD. Our grandson is 13. He would like

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my wife & I live in MD. Our grandson is 13. He would like to take a 3 week driving trip with us to CA and back thru the national parks. He also would like to live with my wife and me. Can he do so without parent approval?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 2 years ago.
Hello. Thank you for coming to JustAnswer. I am Thoreau and I am sending this answer to you only a few minutes after you asked your question.
I'm sorry that you're experiencing a family dispute. Grandparents only have the rights that parents give them unless there's a court order that creates custody rights or visitation rights for grandparents. To take a child anywhere, grandparents must have the consent of the parents. Section 9-304 of the Maryland Family Code governs custodial interference. This statute can apply even to a parent who removes a child, even before custody or visitation orders have been established. You can read the statute here: http://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2005/gfl/9-304.html. However, even if grandparents could remove a child safely with one parent's consent and without the other's consent, doing so could be a destructive move in terms of family cohesion. Such matters are generally best worked out through family counseling, as it may be possible to show a parent why a vacation is good for a child.
I'm sorry that your family is having trouble agreeing on matters related to grandparent visitation and vacations with your grandchild. I do hope that matters work out well for your family and in the best interests of the child. Please remember that my job here is to provide accurate information about the law. Providing bad news is the hardest part of doing my job but it's a big part of doing my job well. If you feel that the law is wrong or unfair, I'd strongly encourage you to contact your legislators, as they are the only ones who can change it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
At what age can the minor travel w/ grandparents, w/o parent consent? At what age can grandchild petition court for court approval to live w/ grandparents?
Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 2 years ago.
That's really a separate question because it's a separate legal issue. However, I'll be happy to provide responses to those questions. Unfortunately, those aren't decisions that a minor child will ever be able to make. There is a popular myth that a child can choose to leave parents, choose between parents, etc. at a certain age. However, that is simply a myth and a minor does not have that authority. In other words, a child can make those decisions when he becomes an adult. Until then, those decisions belong to the parents. Now, grandparents can petition to establish custodial or visitation rights, but those petitions are available in limited circumstances, such as when the child has lived with the grandparents for an extended period, when parents are divorced, or when parents are unfit.
I realize that this probably isn't what you expected or hoped to here but I would ask you to please remember that my job here is to provide accurate information about the law. Providing bad news is the hardest part of doing my job but it's a big part of doing my job well. If you feel that the law is wrong or unfair, I'd strongly encourage you to contact your legislators, as they are the only ones who can change it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I respect your opinion. However, last comment. Several years ago our MD attorney stated that our grandson could petition the court to live w/ my wife and me when he reached the age of 14. I was also advised that at age 13 he could travel w/ us, in the US, if he desired to do so w/o parental approval. I gather that you do not agree w/ that opinion.
Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your message. I would never contradict your attorney. If your attorney feels you have a basis for action based on the details of the circumstances, you should discuss in detail that basis for action with your attorney. A child can travel with grandparents, but only with the consent of the parents. Parents have the final say as to a child's care and activities unless a judge assigns those rights to someone else. That only happens in the limited circumstances described above. Section 9-103 of the Maryland Family Code permits a child age 16 or older to petition a court to change custody from one parent to the other, and it's possible that courts may be willing to extend that to grandparents in limited circumstances, though Troxel v. Granville and the considerable amount of deference judges must show to the wishes of fit parents who remain together would likely be interpreted to limit the extent to which courts could do so. The area of grandparents rights has been evolving over the last decade or so.
Thoreau (T-USA), Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9176
Experience: Attorney
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