Grandparent and Other Third Party Rights

While Colorado law grants certain rights to grandparents and other third parties in a number of specific instances, the United States Supreme Court ruling, Troxel v. Grandville, limits those rights, especially when contested by the child’s biological parent(s).

Custody/Allocation of Parental Responsibilities: In Colorado, grandparents and other third parties may petition a court for custody/allocation of parental responsibilities (including court-ordered parenting time and decision-making responsibilities) for a minor child if that child has lived with them for 182 days. If the child lived with the grandparent or other third party for 182 days or more but was taken back by the parent(s), a petition for custody/allocation of parental responsibilities must be correctly filed within 182 days of the child no longer living with the grandparent or third party.

Visitation: While grandparents do not have visitation rights to their grandchildren if the grandchild’s parents are living and married, grandparents may seek court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren if: 1) the parents of the child have been involved in a child custody case; 2) the child is in the custody of a non-parent; or 3) the grandparent’s child (one of the child’s parents) has died.

Guardianship: Grandparents may be appointed guardians of a grandchild anytime the child’s biological parents agree to the guardianship or if the child is in need of a legal caretaker and the guardianship is in the child’s best interests.

Cases involving grandparents and other third parties’ rights in connection with minor children are complex and generally require the expertise of an experienced family law attorney. These cases frequently turn on a number of fact-specific circumstances that differ from case to case. The attorneys at Harrington, Brewster Mahoney and Smits, P.C., are experienced with cases involving grandparents and third parties’ rights and understand the importance of these relationships for children.