Protecting The Rights Of Grandparents In Colorado
Grandparents are an important part of a child’s life. Parents are usually happy when grandparents want to spend time with their grandchildren. However, in some situations, a parent may be estranged from his or her own parents and not wish to have them involved in their grandchild’s life.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that parents have a constitutional right to determine the care and custody of their children. However, there are some exceptions that may provide grandparents a right to pursue visitation or custody rights.
Colorado has specific laws regarding grandparents’ rights that reflect the importance that grandparents play in a child’s life while still protecting parents’ rights. Martin Law Office LLC represents grandparents when it is necessary to take legal action to maintain regular contact with a grandchild or when they wish to seek legal custody of a grandchild.
Pursuing Visitation Rights
Colorado law stipulates that grandparents have the right to request visitation with a grandchild in these situations:
- When the parents’ marriage ends or the couple is legally separated
- When someone other than the child’s parents is given legal custody of the child
- When one parent dies and the party seeking visitation rights is the parent of the deceased parent
If the court determines it is in the best interests of the child to spend time with one or more grandparents, it may order visitation rights. However, a grandparent is not guaranteed visitation rights solely by virtue of being a blood relative. It is necessary to present information that supports the claim that having visitation rights will benefit the grandchild. The court will review any reason why a parent may wish to prevent contact with a grandparent and consider the grandchild’s wishes as well.
Attorney Jodi S. Martin has been practicing law for more than 20 years. She understands the type of information that family law judges seek when hearing petitions to provide grandparents the right to have time with a grandchild. Ms. Martin works to help grandparents secure visitation rights so they can spend time with their grandchild.
Grandparents Seeking Custody
In some situations, a grandparent may wish to seek partial or sole custody of a grandchild. This may occur if there are problems with addiction or abuse in the child’s household, or if the child’s parents are otherwise unable to properly care for the child. A grandparent may petition the court for the allocation of parental responsibilities if:
- The child has been removed from the parental home for the child’s safety
- The child is living with someone other than their parents
- A grandchild has been living with a grandparent who has provided care for at least six months within the past six months and no more than 60 days have passed since your grandchild last lived with you
The burden is on the grandparent to show the court that providing parental responsibilities to the grandparent is in the child’s best interest. If either parent objects, they will be presumed to have the child’s best interests in mind unless it is shown otherwise. If the child’s welfare has never been questioned under either parent’s custody, it will be difficult for a grandparent to obtain sole parental responsibilities.