Do you have visitation rights as a grandparent in Colorado?

Being a grandparent is often a great source of joy. You have all of the beautiful wonderment of a new child in your life, without the daily obligations of parenthood. Unfortunately, complex family situations can endanger the beautiful relationship you have with your grandchildren.

Whether the state believes that your child is no longer fit to parent or your child loses custody in a divorce, you may worry about whether you can have a continued relationship with the grandchildren that matter so much to you.

The good news for most grandparents is that Colorado law does extend some degree of protection to non-parental adults in the life of a minor child. Knowing those rights can help you determine what your options may be in a difficult situation when you don't know whether you are able to see your grandchildren.

The focus must always be on the best interest of the child

While preserving your own rights is important, you need to understand that any custody proceeding focuses on the best interest of the child. Even if you just want occasional visitation with your grandchildren, you need to be able to show to the courts that such a visitation would benefit your grandchild.

So long as you have an existing, positive relationship with your grandchild, it should be relatively easy to document for the courts. Receipts for gifts that you purchased or outings that you paid for are a great way to show that you spend quality time with your grandchild. Pictures of holidays and other special events spent together could also corroborate your existing relationship.

Finally, if your child and grandchild live with you or have lived with you in the past, that cohabitative relationship can also help establish proof of an existing relationship with the child. If you can demonstrate any of these scenarios, the courts are likely to at least grant a hearing regarding your right to visitation.

When you do see your grandchild, stay focused on the positive

Getting denied access to your grandchild can feel insulting and infuriating. However, your grandchild should never know about the powerful negative emotions you experience. You can acknowledge that you've missed them or that you have been making every effort to see them. You should never place blame with either of their parents directly.

Doing anything to damage the child bond with either parent is certainly not in their best interest. The courts would view such behavior quite negatively if they found out about it. Instead, keep the conversation positive and focused on your grandchild. That way, you provide emotional support to your grandchild in what may very well be a tumultuous time. The more safe spaces a child has during upheaval in their family life, the easier it is for them to adjust and move on.

After all, you don't just want to see your grandchild for the sake of a visit. You likely want to be a part of their life. Supporting and loving them, even when things are difficult for you, is an important part of that relationship.

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