Many grandparents have concerns about maintaining a relationship with their grandchildren after the parents divorce. In Colorado, grandparents may have legal visitation rights in certain situations. Want to know more about when and how you can petition the state court for grandchild visitation?
Filing for grandparent visitation in Colorado
Colorado family court will allow a petition for grandparent visitation only in specific circumstances. These include:
- When one of the child’s parents has died
- A person other than a parent has custody of the child
- The child’s parents separate or divorce
You cannot submit this type of petition more than once every two years unless the child’s circumstances have changed.
If one of these situations applies to your family, you may file a visitation motion in the court district where your grandchild resides. This motion can be part of an active custody case or be a separate action on its own.
How the court determines whether the petition will be granted
Even when you have a reason to file for grandparent visitation, the court will only approve your petition when the relationship is in the child’s leading interest. Factors in this determination include:
- Whether a parent or guardian objects to the relationship between the grandparent and child
- Whether the grandparent agrees to support the relationship between the child and his or her parents, as well as respects the parents’ wishes for raising their child
- Whether the child has an existing relationship with the grandparent and the nature of that relationship
The Colorado court presumes that the parent acts in the child’s most favorable interest unless the grandparent presents evidence to the contrary. When the court allows visitation against the parents’ wishes, the judge must specify the convincing reasons for this decision.
In certain cases, Colorado grandparents may wish to seek custody of their grandchildren. If neither of your grandchild’s parents can provide necessary care, the state may prioritize placement with you over others. You can also request custody when the child has been in your care for six or more months.