Spending time with your grandchildren is one of the greatest joys in life. Unfortunately, there are situations that can make it difficult for you to have a relationship with your grandchildren. If this is what you’re going through, it’s essential to know what grandparents’ rights in Colorado are.
Situations, such as your child gets divorced, becomes disabled, imprisoned, or terminally ill can make it hard to enjoy a relationship with your grandchildren. Although it’s good to have a good relationship with your child’s spouse or ex-spouse and be respectful of their child-rearing choices, circumstances may arise where you as a grandparent believe you should have formal visitation rights or even you may believe that you should take over raising your grandchildren.
In Colorado, it’s hard for any outside adult to get child custody when the parent is adequately taking care of their children. However, there’s a legal precedent for granting visitation that is agreed upon and formalized by the family law court, and an experienced family law attorney can guide you through the legal process.
What are Grandparents Rights in Colorado?
In Colorado, grandparents don’t have automatic rights to see their grandkids. Grandparent rights didn’t exist until 40 years ago. Thus, in most family courts, recognizing the idea that a child needs a relationship with their grandparents is relatively a new idea.
It’s hard for grandparents to exercise their rights following the grandchild’s parents’ divorce. If one of the child’s parents doesn’t want the contact to occur, that can a lot of weight in the family court. However, as a grandparent, you can still seek permission from the family court for contact rights. With the help of an experienced Colorado family law attorney, you may get awarded these rights.
A family court judge will look at several factors when determining if they should grant contact rights. These includes:
- Your grandchild’s best interests.
- If there are any benefits of having a relationship with their grandparents.
- Family history of potential abuse or domestic violence
- Nature of the current relationship between grandchildren and their grandparents, if any.
- Any objections the parent of the child may have.
- The grandchild wishes.
Can Grandparents Sue for Visitation Rights in Colorado?
Colorado law recognizes the special nature of a child’s relationship with his or her grandparents and allows for grandparents to petition the court for relief if divorce or other circumstances have jeopardized that relationship.
However, just because Colorado law gives grandparents the right to request visitation with grandchildren, that doesn’t mean that you have an automatic right to visitation. As with any decision made by a Colorado family court judge regarding children, any grandparent’s court-ordered visitation must be in the child’s best interests.
According to C. R. S 19-1-117, a grandparent can petition a Colorado family law court to acquire reasonable grandchild visitation rights when there is or has been a case to determine child custody or a case regarding the allocation of parenting time relating to that child.
The grandparent visitation statute defines such a case in the following ways:
- The grandchild’s parents have obtained legal separation, divorce, or annulment of their marriage.
- The grandkid has been placed into the legal custody of someone other than their parent, or
- The grandkid’s parent, who is the child of the grandparent seeking visitation, has passed away.
Further, a Colorado Springs family law court can only order grandparents visitation rights under the following circumstances:
- An assumption in favor of the parental grandparent visitation determination.
- The grandparent must prove through clear and convincing evidence, that the current parental grandparent visitation determination isn’t in the child’s best interests.
- The grandparent must prove through clear and convincing evidence that the visitation schedule they seek is in the best interests of their grandkid.
Although “clear and convincing evidence” is a high burden, it’s not as difficult to meet as the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard required in criminal courts. With the help of an experienced Colorado Springs grandparent rights lawyer, you can gather the relevant information and documentation needed to prove your case.
How do I Get Custody of My Grandchild in Colorado?
There are three primary avenues through which grandparents in Colorado can get custody of their grandkids. These include:
- When Colorado authorities remove a child from their parent’s home, under C.R.S. 19-1-115, grandparents have a preference for the grandkid’s placement over other potential foster parents. However, grandparents don’t have a preference over the other parent. In Colorado, any person, including a grandparent, with the actual physical care of the kid, can petition a family law court for allocation of parental responsibilities.
- Though not a means of getting grandparent visitation, often, grandparents wide up raising their grandkids and they may seek to obtain physical care or custody over them.
- Any person, including a grandparent who has had physical care of the grandchildren for at least six months, can petition a Colorado Springs family law court for an allocation of parental responsibilities within the six months before the lapse of the physical care.
In Colorado, grandparent child custody rights aren’t automatic. Instead, a Colorado family law judge must first determine if the grandparent would be a suitable custodian, just like when a non-custodial parent seeks child custody. Family law courts may consider any credible evidence of past child neglect or abuse by the grandparent when determining whether to award custody.
Further, the most crucial factor the court considers is the child’s best interests. An experienced custody attorney from Brighter Day℠ Law can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights under Colorado law. For a initial consultation, call us today at (719) 225-4443.
Do You Need a Grandparent Visitation Attorney in Colorado Springs?
If you’re a grandparent in Colorado Springs who is concerned about how a divorce or other circumstances may affect your relationship with your grandchildren, contact a knowledgeable Colorado Springs divorce attorney who can advise you of your rights and outline your legal options.
As top-rated grandparent visitation lawyers in Colorado Springs, we can provide you with legal guidance and key insights for developing solutions that serve the best interests of your grandkids and everyone in the family. The family law team at Brighter Day℠ Law have decades of experience helping grandparents through the Colorado legal system, and we can help you and your family find a favorable outcome.
We know Colorado family law inside and out, from divorce to legal separation, including parenting rights, child custody, and grandparent visitation issues. To schedule an initial consultation, contact our family law firm today at (719) 225-4443, or chat with us online to learn how we can help. Don’t wait! Call us today!