Legal Question in Family Law in Maryland

Legal Custody after Death of Custodial Parent-

We live in Maryland. I suffered a well-documented abuse from my children's father and he is unfit mentally to raise them. He has abused them mentally during visitations in the past.

What do I need to do that will assure that my children's father will not be granted legal custody of our two children if I, (their Mother and full-custodial parent) should die? I want the children to stay with my husband (the step father) who has been raising them. They are 12 and 15 yrs. old.

Thank you very much

Asked on 4/03/11, 10:45 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher

It is extremely difficult to foreclose the right of the biological father to seek custody of his children. You could try filing a petition to terminate his parental rights, but if he fights it you will probably lose if all you have to base it on is mental abuse. You would have to have your children thoroughly examined by a child psychologist or psychiatrist who would be able to testify that they are being harmed by any contact with him. Unless you now have some kind of terminal illness, actuarialy you are extremely unlikely to die before they reach the age of majority (18) and custody becomes irrelevant.

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Answered on 4/04/11, 7:10 am

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