How To File For Grandparents Rights In Colorado

September 2, 2021

There are many reasons as to why a grandparent may be seeking the right to see a grandchild.  Perhaps you are in a situation where you are estranged from your child but would like to have a relationship with your grandchild. Or perhaps your child has recently gone through a divorce and you would like the right to see your grandchild more often. If you have a grandchild and are wondering how to file for grandparents rights in Colorado, Johnson Law Firm can help. Colorado law provides several options where grandparents can seek visitation and even custody of a grandchild. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone at (720) 463-4333 or via text-to-chat at (720) 730-4558.

Grandparent Rights Generally

Grandparents do have rights in the state of Colorado, but they are specific and limited. In certain situations, grandparents have the right to request visitation and even custody. These rights are not always guaranteed and to obtain them, it is helpful to be aware of what the requirements and processes are. If you have questions regarding how to file for grandparents’ rights in Colorado, or your specific situation, our experienced family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group can help.

Visitation Rights

Visitation rights for grandparents are covered by Colorado Revised Statutes Title 19 §19-1-117. In the State of Colorado, you are entitled to ask for visitation when one of the following qualifying situations occurs:

  • The parents of the child have obtained a divorce or are legally separated or had an annulment. Any issue where parenting time is reviewed, becomes a qualifying circumstance.
  • There is a child custody or paternity issue where parental responsibilities have been given or allocated to a party outside of the child’s parents.
  • When the child’s parent has died (if that parent was your child) and care of the child is now part of a probate case.

A qualifying situation means that there is either a case pending that affects parental rights or there has been a case that has been decided in the past, even though it is already concluded.

There are certain situations where you cannot ask a court for visitation rights. For example, if the parental rights of a child have been terminated or if the child has been put up for adoption, then you have lost your right to ask for visitation.

Requirement of a Prior Custody Case

You may not ask for visitation alone without parental rights coming into question. There must be a prior custody case where parental responsibilities of the child have come into question or are being discussed. Additional situations where you may not seek visitation rights include:

  • Simply living apart from the grandchild or not being allowed to see your grandchild
  • Being estranged from your children which is preventing you from seeing your grandchildren
  • The child’s parents are separated but not divorced
  • The child’s parents were never married
  • Removing a grandchild from parental care without a court order because the grandchild’s parents use drugs

Filing and Forms

You will want to ensure that any documents seeking visitation are properly filed and filled out. If you qualify for grandparents’ rights, you will need to file your paperwork in the jurisdiction where the case is pending or was pending. Our experienced attorneys can ensure that everything is properly filed in the appropriate jurisdictions and that all applicable forms are completed. Forms that may apply include a motion to intervene, an order to intervene, an affidavit for grandparent visitation, and an order for grandparent visitation.

These documents must be filed in the district court in the county in which the grandchild lives. If you are filing an affidavit for visitation, notice must be given to whoever has legal custody of the grandchild. There are fees associated with filing these forms, although if you are unable to afford them, you may also file a motion to file without payment.

Orders of the Court

If a judge decides to grant you a request for grandparent visitation, it becomes an enforceable order of the court. The amount of visitation allowed will depend on the decision made by the judge. Options include:

  • One weekend a month
  • Every other weekend
  • Vacation time or time away from school

If an order of the court is made and a parent denies you the right to visit, your grandchildren you can force them to comply. If visitation is missed, the court can alter the terms and conditions of the visitation and can require the violator to place down security to ensure future compliance, command that past visitations missed be made up, or even impose a jail sentence in egregious situations.

It is the role of the court to look out for what is best for the children so the court may also decide in the future to revoke your visitation rights depending on the situation.

Custody Rights

Sometimes, a parent is unfit to care for a child and a grandparent needs to step in for parental responsibility. There are two ways in which a grandparent may obtain custody in Colorado:

  • Under Colorado Revised Statutes Title 19, grandparents may have a preference for custody of a child if the child is removed from a parent’s home. However, if the other parent is available, that parent may have preference over the grandparents.
  • Under Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14, any grandparent who is providing parental care to a child can file a petition in Colorado court for an allocation of parental responsibilities.

When seeking custody rights, it is not automatically granted simply because you are a grandparent. A court will take the time to determine whether you are a suitable guardian for the child and may consider past experiences (specifically whether there was any neglect or abuse) when determining whether to place the child with the grandparent full-time or not.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

If you are unsure of whether or not you will have legal standing and the right to request visitation or custody rights over a grandchild or are wondering how to file for grandparent’s rights in Colorado, our experienced team at the Johnson Law Firm can help. Contact us today by phone at (720) 463-4333 or via text-to-chat at (720) 730-4558 for a free consultation and to learn more.

Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
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