Colorado courts consider the child’s best interests when granting child custody or visitation. It’s no different for grandparents.
Grandparents have recognizable legal rights to spend time with their grandchildren in Colorado, as the benefits of the grandparent-grandchild relationship are many. In fact, the state allows visitation rights for grandparents, but it isn’t without complications.
For example, in 2000, the United States Supreme Court decided that fit and competent parents are presumed to act in their children’s best interests. Therefore, state courts cannot second-guess a parent’s decision to deny grandparents’ visitation.
Keep reading to learn more about when a grandparent has the right to visitation with their grandchild.
How do grandparents seek visitation in Colorado?
When seeking visitation in Colorado, grandparents need to satisfy two steps:
- First, they must establish that they satisfy “qualifying circumstances” allowing visitation.
- Second, they must file a motion with the court, along with an affidavit describing the supporting facts for visitation.
“Qualifying circumstances” include:
- The parents are divorced or separated (or in the process of divorcing or separating)
- The parents had their marriage annulled (or in the process of getting an annulment)
- Custody of the child has been awarded to someone other than a parent
- The child’s parent has passed away (if that deceased parent was the grandparents’ child)
If these two steps are satisfied, then grandparents can request visitation from the court. But, remember, visitation gives you the right to spend time with your grandchildren, not make decisions for them.
Although these two steps seem straightforward, grandparents’ visitation rights can be complex. If you’d like to pursue visitation, consult with a qualified Denver visitation rights lawyer.
Can a parent deny grandparents their visitation rights in Colorado?
When requesting visitation rights, grandparents must prove that the visitation is in the grandchild’s best interest. Because of this, parents can deny visitation to grandparents if they are fit and take the child’s best interests into account.
Can grandparents petition for child custody in Colorado?
Grandparents can petition for child custody in Colorado by filing a Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities. However, if either parent objects, then the grandparents must present “clear and convincing” evidence that the proposed custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. As such, the presented proof must be powerful to overcome the parents’ custody.
However, if the court awards custody to the grandparents, then the grandparents have all the same rights and responsibilities as the parents. This includes making all decisions on behalf of the grandchild, such as educational and healthcare decisions.
Legal Assistance with the Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in Colorado
Because the law tends to be complex, it is important to seek advice from a qualified Denver attorney. VanLandingham Law provides compassionate advocacy for noncustodial parents and grandparents. Our Denver visitation rights attorney listens to your needs and works to provide personalized legal solutions for every client.At VanLandingham Law, we can assess your situation and determine your options for moving forward and seeking visitation rights.