Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights After a Divorce?

Grandparents with their grandchildren

Regardless of the state, grandparents do not automatically get the legal rights to visit their grandchildren. Unfortunately, visitation rights are not simply given to them by a family connection. Another fact is that no state will allow grandparents to appeal for visitation when both parents are living together or are happily married.

Consult professionals when in doubt

There are certain circumstances under which the grandparents can appeal for visitation rights in Colorado. The family court will decide on these rights keeping in mind the best interests of the children involved. Like all other states, grandparents in Colorado cannot petition for visitation rights if the marriage of the parents is intact. If in any doubt about grandparents’ visitation rights, Law Office of Gordon N. Shayne recommends consulting a family lawyer. 

Situations under which visitation rights can be petitioned

A grandparent can appeal to a family court for reasonable rights to visit their grandchild or grandchildren in the following situations: 

First situation: When the parents of the grandchildren have obtained an annulment, a legal separation, or a dissolution. 

Second situation: When the child or children have been placed in the legal custody of an individual who is not their parent. 

Third situation: This takes place when a parent, who is the child of the grandparent petitioning for the rights, has died. 

Under the law, there are no automatic visitation rights granted to grandparents under any of these circumstances. They should still petition the court for visitation rights.

These rights can be modified

The family court will study the situation in detail before awarding visitation rights to the grandparents. The child’s interest is an essential factor that will influence their judgment. In Colorado, once the rights are granted, they can be terminated or modified if it's in the child’s best interest. If the parental rights of the parent, who is the child of the grandparent, is terminated, then the grandparents’ visitation rights will also be terminated. The rights will also be terminated if a new set of parents adopts the child.

Know what's involved in visitation rights to make sure you're not violating the law. If you find this confusing, talking to an expert is ideal.