The relationship that a child has with his or her extended family members can be critical to his or her development, growth and emotional health. When parents go through a divorce, not only does it change daily life for the child, but it can also impact how often the child can see his or her grandparents. If you are a grandparent, you may have serious concerns regarding how you can protect the relationship you have with your grandchild.
There are times when it may be important for a grandparent to petition a court for access to his or her grandchildren. If you believe that this is a necessary step for you in order to protect the best interests of your grandchildren, you will benefit from seeking an understanding of your rights and what steps you need to take next.
The best interests of the child
The courts make all custody decisions with the goal of protecting the best interests of the child above all else. If you are a Colorado grandparent and you want custody of your grandkids or you hope to have visitation rights, it will be helpful to understand what the courts will take into consideration before making a decision in these cases, which includes:
- Ages of the children and their wishes
- Any history of abuse or neglect by the grandparent
- Frequency of contact between the grandparent and grandchildren
- Capability of parents to care for the children
- Whether visitation could interfere with parenting time
- Potential effect of visitation on the child and the parents
Grandparent custody is rare because the courts will always prefer to protect the rights of the parents and shield their relationship with the child. However, the court may recognize that it is best for the children to maintain a strong relationship with their grandparents. In cases where the parents are incapable of providing a safe and stable environment, the court may grant grandparents custody.
Your fight for an important relationship
You have the right to fight for access to your grandkids. While you are not guaranteed a specific outcome, you may find it helpful to seek legal guidance regarding how you can pursue the goals you have. An assessment of the individual situation may reveal the legal options available to you and how you can protect the best interests of your grandchildren.