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Are grandparents' rights recognized in child custody in Colorado?

In some states in the country, grandparents' rights are not usually recognized. In Colorado, if a parent has denied the grandparents a right to see their grandchildren, the court assumes that the parent has acted in the best interests of the child.

That does not mean that grandparents cannot go to court to present evidence against that assumption. They can, but the evidence must be "clear and convincing" that keeping the grandparents from seeing the children is not in the children's best interest or that the parent is simply not fit to make this decision.

In Colorado, there are three situations where grandparents can seek visitation. Those are:

-- The parents of the grandchild are legally separated or divorced.

-- Someone other than the child's parent has custody.

-- The parent of the child (who is the grandparent's child) has passed away.

It's important to note that when a parent loses parental rights to a child, then the grandparents also lose their rights to the child. In addition, if the child lives in a family that is considered "intact," then the grandparents are not allowed to seek visitation. Parents are recognized to have the upper hand in court in terms of an advantage when grandparents are seeking visitation. The grandparents are not considered to be on equal ground with the parents.

While it can be difficult to secure visitation for grandparents, it is not impossible by any means. You will find that advice from an experienced family law attorney can help you learn more about grandparents' rights in Colorado and determine how you want to proceed.

Source:, "Colorado Grandparents' Rights" Susan Adcox, Oct. 07, 2014

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