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In the state of Colorado grandparents have some rights when it comes to child custody. They may seek custody or visitation rights to their grandchild under certain circumstances. These circumstances include: when the parents have been legally separated or their marriage becomes deemed invalid; when the child has been given to a 3rd party or someone outside the family; or when one or both of the child’s parents are deceased. However, if the situation does not match one of these circumstances, chances are the grandparents will not be able to have custody or visitation rights.
Legal Separation is different than divorce. In a legal separation, a divorce has not yet happened and the parties are still married. The married couple however is deemed legally separated by the court. When a marriage has been made invalid it means that the marriages were deemed to have never been valid. This can happen in a few ways: if the married couple is underage it can be for the lack of consent; if the two parties are too closely related, the marriage can be made invalid due to incest; the last reason would be Bigamy, which is when one of the parties getting married is already married to somebody else. In any case when a marriage is found to be invalid for one of these reasons, an annulment will be set in order to completely erase the marriage as if it never happened. In this case grandparents could seek custody and visitation rights to their grandchild.
When a child is given to a 3rd party it must be considered whether it is to someone in the family like an aunt, uncle, stepparent, or if the child has be given up for adoption. Once an adoption is finalized, grandparents of the child can no longer seek any visitation times or custody. If given to someone else within the family, grandparents may still seek to see their grandchildren. The Judge will ultimately determine where and who the child will live with based on who is most fit to take care of the child and who has the strongest bond with the child. In many cases where the child has spent extended periods of time with their grandparents and formed a bond, the court gives custody or visitation rights.
In cases where one or both of the child’s parents are deceased, grandparents may seek custody of the children. Many times in these cases aunt and uncles are deemed to be more fit than grandparents. However, if the grandchild and the grandparents have a good bond and the judge finds it to be in the child’s best interest, grandparents may still be given custody. If not given custody, grandparents may still seek visitation rights to the child.
Grandparents in the State of Colorado can only seek custody or visitation rights to their grandchild in these situations. Grandparent’s custody and visitation rights varies drastically from state to state. For more information on your rights as a Grandparent, please contact our law office or visit South Denver Law today at 4610 S Ulster St #150, Denver, CO 80237.