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Do Grandparents Have Rights In Colorado?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2016 | Family Law

At The Offices of Keane Law, LLC, many grandparents come to us with questions regarding their rights to access to their grandchildren. Although the circumstances of each case vary, in general, Colorado affords grandparents certain rights to time with their grandchildren.

If you’re a grandparent, that’s the good news. You live in a state that values the relationship established between a grandparent and a grandchild. The law even supports your right to petition the court for visitation. However, your rights are not absolute, and the parents of your grandchild may be able to effectively oppose your visitation rights for a variety of reasons.

Colorado Law and Grandparents

The first thing you need to know is that Colorado law is not meant to force parents to relinquish decisions over who their child spends time with in all circumstances. In fact, you don’t have legal rights to visitation while your grandchild’s parents are still alive, together and retain custody of the child. So, if your son or daughter is still in a relationship with the other parent and either or both of them refuse to let you see their child, there is likely very little you can do about that from a legal standpoint. Additionally, if your grandchild is adopted by another individual or family, your rights as a grandparent may be lost.

The law allows you to seek access to your grandchild if any of these four situations exists:

  1. Your grandchild’s parents are legally separated, or their marriage has been annulled or dissolved.
  2. Your grandchild is currently under the legal custody of someone other than the parents.
  3. Your child, who is the parent of your grandchild, is deceased.
  4. There is a pending or ongoing paternity case.

In these circumstances, you may petition the court to request visitation rights.

Court Determinations

Your rights to visitation are not guaranteed. The court must weigh the best interests of the child in determining whether to go against the wishes of a parent. Some considerations include:

  • Does the parent object to the visitation request?
  • Is there evidence to show that the parent is not acting in the best interest of the child by denying your visitation?
  • Will visitation benefit the child?
  • Does the grandparent fail to comply with the parents’ wishes, such as undermining their authority or going against religious observations?

These and other criteria are carefully reviewed by the court to determine whether an order of grandparent visitation is the best decision for the well-being of the child. Because this is a sensitive and complex legal issue, each case is decided individually, based on the specific circumstances. If you are a grandparent seeking access to your grandchild, contact our team at The Offices of Keane Law, LLC, to discuss your options and decide on the best course of action. Our attorneys offer skilled and knowledgeable legal counsel with empathy and understanding for this emotional situation.