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Do grandparents have visitation rights in Colorado?

When parents divorce, they and the children are not the only ones affected. In many cases grandparents worry that they will no longer be able to see their grandchildren, particularly if their own child is not the custodial parent.

Colorado law does allow grandparents some limited rights of visitation after their children divorce. Grandparents can also seek visitation if residential or legal custody of the child has been given to someone other than the child's parent (in situations other than legal adoption) or if the parent has died.

A grandparent seeking visitation after divorce must file an affidavit with the court setting forth facts supporting the request. The grandparents must give notice of the request to the person who has custody of the child or who has parental responsibilities, and that person has the right to file an affidavit opposing the visitation request.

If none of the parties ask for a hearing, the court can enter an order granting the visitation request if the court determines that grandparent visitation is in the best interests of the child. If a hearing is requested, or if the court decides it is in the child's best interest to have a hearing, the parties who filed affidavits have a right to testify. The court will then make a decision as to the visitation request, applying the standard of the best interests of the child.

Grandparent visitation rights can be an emotional issue, especially if the parents' divorce was acrimonious. Grandparents do have rights in Colorado, however, and those who are interested in seeking visitation with their grandchildren may want to consult an experienced family law attorney to learn more about their options.

Source: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 19-1-117, accessed Dec. 28, 2014

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