Grandparents and grandchildren often have a very special bond. In scenarios where a parental relationship has been sporadic or unstable, grandparents may play an even more integral role in the lives of their grandchildren. In such cases, what rights do grandparents have in Colorado?
It’s crucial to understand that grandparent rights are secondary to parental rights. However, there are numerous circumstances in which grandparents can—and do—seek visitation rights and custody in Colorado. The law provides the means to do so, but the burden of proof will be on you to show that the current arrangements do not satisfy the child’s needs. Some circumstances in which grandparents might apply for visitation rights or custody include:
- If one or both parents have died
- If the child is living with third party who is not a parent
- If the parent has gotten divorced and remarried
- If the court deems the parents unfit and the parents deny the grandparent access to the child
The court may consider parents unfit if, for example, they have a substance abuse or domestic abuse problem.
What must you and your attorney prove in court?
Simply put, you must prove that your grandchild would benefit from your involvement in their life on an emotional or financial level. Alternatively, you must demonstrate that the child is in danger in their present situation and that you are the better caregiving alternative.
As a grandparent, you must decide how big of a role you want to play in your grandchild’s life. How much do they need you? What can you provide to them at this stage? Discuss your situation with a qualified attorney. Family law is complex, involving deep emotions as well as complicated legal issues.