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A Guide to Grandparents' Rights in Colorado

Updated: 05/04/2023

Est. Reading: 4 minutes

Grandparents are an integral part of a family and play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. Unfortunately, they often don't have the same rights as parents when it comes to being involved in their grandchild's life.

In Colorado, there are laws that protect the rights of grandparents to continue having an amicable relationship with their grandchildren, even if the parents don't agree. This is a simple guide on how you can ensure you remain connected with your grandchildren if you live in Colorado.

For more information on how our family law attorneys can help call us at (719) 625-8886.

When Can Grandparents Ask for Visitation?

The first step for any grandparent wishing to be involved in their grandchild's life is to understand laws about custody. At The Law Office of Jeanne M. Wilson & Associates, our experienced attorneys can help you out. Generally, a grandparent may file a motion for visitation if they seek to establish a formal visitation schedule with their grandchildren.

Under Colorado law, a court can order visitation rights for a grandparent if the grandchild's parents are divorced, legally separated, or have an annulment. In cases of legal separation or bitter divorce, the custodial parent may limit grandparent visitation rights and grandparents need to be aware of their legal standing in such disputes. In order to ensure continued visitation with grandchildren, grandparents can consult legal professionals for key insights into aspects of family law.

grandparents visiting with their grandchild

Additionally, a court can order visitation rights for grandparents if one of the child's parents has died or is otherwise absent from their life. If you meet any of these criteria and feel that your grandchild would benefit from having a relationship with you, then you can file for grandparent visitation rights.

In any other circumstances, a court in Colorado may not grant visitation rights to a grandparent unless the parents are found to be unfit. The court may also consider factors such as whether it would be in the child's best interest for the grandparent to have visitation and if there is a current relationship between the grandparent and the child.

How Courts Decide Whether to Grant Grandparents Visitation

Rights When deciding whether to grant visitation rights to a grandparent, the court will look at several crucial factors. These include:

  • The existing relationship between the grandparent and grandchild.
  • Whether it is in the best interest of the child for them to have a familial relationship with their grandparent.
  • Whether the parents are fit and are able to provide a safe and loving home environment for the child.
  • The grandparent’s ability to meet their grandchild's emotional, physical, and educational needs

Ultimately, the court will consider all of these special factors when determining whether it is in the best interest of the child for them to have visitation with their grandparent.

Grandparent Custody Rights

When making custody decisions, the court will consider the parents' parenting abilities and rights, as well as the grandparent's family history and ability to provide frequent contact with the grandchildren. In cases where the parents are deemed unfit to provide a safe and loving home environment, grandparent custody rights may be possible. However, grandparents must demonstrate that it is in the best interest of the child for them to be granted sole custody.

It is important to note that family courts prefer that children stay in the physical care of their parents unless it can be proven that they are unable to provide a safe and loving home environment. 

If a child dispute arises, grandparents can seek counsel from child custody lawyers experienced in visitation rights. Before filing an affidavit for grandparent visitation, it is important to understand the legal action that should be taken and the applicable forms that must be completed. For any legal question, you can also turn to legal professionals for advice when faced with other scenarios that might affect their relationship with the grandchildren.

Compelling Reasons Why Grandparents Might Seek Custody of Their Grandchildren

Grandparents may seek custody of their grandchildren if they feel that the parents are unable to provide a safe and loving home environment. This could be due to factors or egregious situations such as neglect, abuse (of parental rights), substance abuse, or other issues that make it unsafe for the child to remain in the care of their parents.

Similarly, grandparents may also seek custody if the parents are unable to provide for their child's basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, and education. As an additional situation, grandparents may also seek custody if the parents are unable or unwilling to care for their child due to illness, disability, or mental health issues.

How Grandparents Can File an APR Petition

If you are a grandparent and wish to seek visitation or custody of your grandchild, you can file an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (APR) petition with the court in the county where your grandchild resides. You can usually do this where you are providing a home, care, and support for the child.

The APR petition should include information about why you believe it is in your grandchild's best interest to have a relationship with you and why the parents are not fit to provide physical care. You will also need to include evidence of the existing or previous relationship between you and your grandchild, along with any other relevant information that would support your case.

grandparents with custody of their grandchildren

Once the petition is filed, the court will review it and decide whether or not to grant visitation or custody rights in accordance with what is in the best interest of your grandchild.

Get in Touch With an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Going through the court system can be intimidating and overwhelming. It is important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side who understands Colorado grandparent rights and will work with you to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive a fair outcome in court.

At the Law Office of Jeanne M. Wilson & Associates, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of grandparents and ensuring that they remain involved in their grandchild's life. We provide knowledgeable legal advice and experienced representation in court so that your rights as a grandparent are protected. Don't wait, call now at (719) 625-8886 or use the contact form and get the help you need.

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