When I was a child, I spent a lot of time with my maternal Grandparents. We lived with them when I was young and then when I was older, they were usually nearby during the summers after they returned from Florida. I would also see my paternal Grandparents whenever they would come out to visit for a week or so. They were always a part of my life, even when changes happened in my family structure.
I realize now how lucky I was, because that’s not always the case and some Grandparents are left out of their Grandchildren’s lives. Struggling with understanding their rights and searching for what they can do to gain visitation to see the Grandchildren they love. Custody arrangements can be tricky enough on their own, visitation rights for Grandparents are a bit trickier.
Under what circumstances can I seek visitation with my Grandchild or Grandchildren?
In the State of Colorado to be able to obtain visitation as a Grandparent or even as a Great-Grandparent one of the following must have happened before you can even think of trying for visitation.
The child or children’s parents are no longer together, either from a divorce or change in their custody agreement, or new information from a paternity case.
The parents no longer have custody of the child, and they are now in the care of a non-parent and no longer in the parent’s home.
One of the child’s parents have died, who was your child.
If your Grandchild lived with you for six months or more within the last six months, you might be able to start a case even if none of the three points above are met.
My Grandchild or Grandchildren were given up for adoption, I can still have visitation, right?
Unfortunately, no, when the parents give up their rights to the child or children, that not only terminates their connection to them. It will also terminate the Grandparents connection to the child as well.
However, it is different if your child has passed away and their surviving parent is remarried and their new spouse adopts the child. You are still able to seek visitation.
What would stop me from being able to seek legal visitation with my Grandchild or Grandchildren?
If none of the circumstances I’ve listed above have come about, then you will have limitations about what you can do. If there has never been any sort of custody order prior to you attempting to seek visitation rights. Parents have the right to ultimately decide when a Grandparent can see a Grandchild and how much time can be spent with them.
Parents ultimately must decide if having you in the child’s life is a positive for the child and that you’re not looking to upset the parental power structure.
What if my child has visitation with their children, but is not around to exercise that time and we’re still nearby?
There have been times where if a parent as had to move for a job, but the child doesn’t go with them that Grandparents have been able to take that time with the child or children to allow them to still have a connection to that side of the family.
Custody in general is a sticky situation while trying to find the balance of what is not only right for the children, but the adults involved as well. If you have any questions please contact McKinney & Associates.