Grandparent rights and issues related to visitation are determined under Colorado law, and not under federal law. Colorado law allows grandparents to ask for a court order for visitation rights to their grandchildren.
However, this can be done only in one of the following circumstances:
- the parents’ marriage has been annulled;
- the parents are legally separated or divorced;
- the legal custody of the grandchildren has been given to another party besides the parent, or the child has been placed in another home (this does not include children who have been placed for adoption); and
- the parent of the child or the child of the grandparent is dead.
At least one of these conditions has to be met. A grandparent cannot get a court order for visitation rights in any circumstance apart from these. For instance, if the grandparent and the child’s parents are not on talking terms anymore, and the grandparent wants to see the grandchildren, he cannot simplify ask for a court order. Colorado does not allow for any other circumstances to be entertained in court.
If one of these conditions is met, the grandparent can file a motion seeking a court order, that gives him visitation rights to the children. To do this, the grandparent must file a document called Verified Motion/Affidavit for Grandparent Visitation. The affidavit must be filed in the district court of the county in which the child lives. Notice of the affidavit must be provided to the person who has legal custody of the child.
The court will determine whether the grandparent must have visitation rights if it deems that this is in the best interests of the child. However, the court order is not permanent. It can be modified at any time in the future if the court finds that such changes would again be in the best interests of the child.
Grandparents can also seek custody of the child, but the requirements are even more stringent than for visitation rights. A court order is necessary in this case too.