Grandparents in many cases play essential roles in children’s lives, having relationships with children that are different from the ones the children have with their parents. However, the rights of grandparents come only after the rights of parents from a legal standpoint.
If you are a grandparent and feel that you do not have as much access to your grandchildren as you should in Colorado, it is within your rights to pursue this greater access by seeking visitation or custody.
A few scenarios may prompt you as a grandparent to seek visitation with your grandchildren. These include the following:
- The children are residing with someone who is not their parent.
- The parents have gotten divorced and have remarried.
- You do not deem the parents as fit but they have denied you access to your grandchildren.
To gain visitation, it is necessary to prove that regular visitation with you would benefit your grandchildren.
In some situations, you may even seek custody of your grandchildren if you can prove that their parents are unable to give them the care, safety and security they need due to any one of the following situations:
- The parents have problems with substance abuse.
- The parents are in jail.
- The parents are deceased.
To gain custody, it is imperative that you demonstrate that your grandchildren’s safety would be at risk if they were not under your care in a nurturing environment. Your ultimate goal is to make sure that you have meaningful time with your grandchildren and to pursue an arrangement that will be in their best interests in the long run.
Best interests of the children
Courts consider several factors in deciding the best interests of the children when it comes to granting a grandparent visitation rights or custody. These factors include the following:
- The court will look at the children’s needs, including their emotional and physical health, welfare and safety.
- The court will consider both your and the parents’ wishes, along with the children’s wishes, if the children can make decisions for themselves.
- The court will look at your relationship with your grandchildren.
- The court will look at the children’s adjustment to the community, their school or the home.
- The court will consider the distance between you or the parents and the children.
- The court will examine your capability as a grandparent to meet the children’s needs as well as to provide affection and love to the children long term.