Grandparents can be just as profoundly affected by divorce as the immediate family of their son or daughter. And just as the statutes governing divorce differ from state to state, the laws concerning the rights of grandparents do as well.
In Colorado, grandparents may file a motion for visitation rights to their grandchildren, or for custody, but only under certain conditions. At your free initial consultation, Gary Gottesfeld will assess your situation. In many cases, he will be able to be of help in securing these rights, even when relocation has put that grandchild a great distance away.
In Colorado, there are two areas of law in which grandparent rights may be established which include visitation or parental rights depending on the circumstances. One law is pursuant to the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act and the second is under the Colorado Children’s Code.
Grandparent custody: In circumstances in which the child is not currently in the physical care of the parent and when the grandparent has had physical care of the child for at least six months, grandparents may request allocation of parental responsibilities (custody). However, this Petition must be filed within six months of the time grandparents had care of the child. Under the Colorado Children’s Code, grandparents in certain circumstances may request visitation rights with their grandchild. The Court may award visitation to grandparents after finding that such an Order would be in the grandchild’s best interest and that certain other criteria have been met.
Grandparents can seek visitation pursuant to the Grandparent Visitation Statute when a case has previously been filed which affect the grandchild such as a dissolution of marriage or custody matters. However, Colorado case law has held that such motions must be considered in light of the child’s best interest after consideration of certain inherent constitutional rights of the biological parents.
All 50 states have statutes which provide for grandparent visitation, however, these laws are subject to a landmark case delivered by the U.S. Supreme Court, Troxel v. Granville. Colorado’s grandparent visitation statute was upheld in light of the criteria set forth in the Troxel case.
Common grounds for pursuing grandparent visitation include matters in which:
- The parents of the child are legally divorced or separated.
- The child is in the custody of someone other than the parents (not including adoption).
- The parent dies.
Grandparents may also seek allocation of parental responsibilities (custody) if he or she has had physical care of the child for more than six months and has initiated an APR action within six months of losing physical care of the child or, the child is not in the physical care of either his or her parents. These two criteria are separate and each provides an independent foundation for standing.
Grandparents have rights to request visitation if a divorce, custody or allocation of parental responsibility has been filed or the child’s parent is the deceased child of the grandparent. Once standing has been established, the best interest of the child is the standard which the Court must apply in rendering a decision. In cases in which there is an objection to grandparent visitation, it is necessary for grandparents to rebut objections by clear and convincing evidence, and show that it is in the best interest of the child for the grandparent to be allocated grandparent visitation (and/or allocation of parental responsibilities). In this regard, paramount considerations are to be given to the physical, mental and emotional needs of the child.
A grandparent seeking visitation or custody must ask the Court to intervene in the divorce, allocation of parental responsibility or legal separation case. A grandparent may not file another request seeking visitation rights more frequently than every two years unless there is good cause shown.
Call us today to discuss questions such as:
Can I get custody of my grandchild?
Can I get temporary custody of my grandchild?
Can my grandchild live with me?
Can I have visitation rights with my grandchild?
Can I adopt my grandchild?
Can I object to the adoption of my grandchild?
Can I take care of my grandchild?
How can I avoid court and secure my grandparent rights?
In addition to grandparent visitation rights and grandparent adoptions, Gary Gottesfeld can also help to secure grandparent custody in cases where the natural parents have died or when illegal drugs or other factors may be putting the child at risk.
Contact Gary Gottesfeld today to discuss your Grandparent Rights issue. A free consultation is offered to all new clients. Mr. Gottesfeld can be reached at 303-892-7000 or via email below to schedule an appointment.