The Hainings brought their suit to the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, citing Maryland’s Grandparent Visitation Statute to make their case. According to the statute, a court may award grandparents visitation rights when deemed in the children’s best interest. The Koshkos responded by arguing that the grandparent visitation law violated their fundamental right to parent and that the law should presume that their decisions were in the best interest of their children. To override their decision about the Hainings, the Koshkos argued, the court had to find that they were unfit parents or that there were exceptional circumstances requiring the grandparent visitation.
The Circuit Court ruled for the Hainings, setting up a rolling schedule of four-hour visits every 45 days and quarterly overnight visits. They also required the four adults to go to four joint professional counseling sessions to discuss issues surrounding the visitation and how to best bring the Hainings back into their grandchildren’s lives.
Glen and Andrea Koshko didn’t give up. They appealed to the Court of Special Appeals, but lost again. Finally, they appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Your turn! If you were an appellate court judge, how would you rule?
Robin Gerber is a lawyer and the author of Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.