Grandparents are often very involved in the lives of their grandchildren, but that can suddenly change when a divorce or separation occurs. Many times, grandparents suddenly find themselves shut out of the lives of their grandchildren and are unsure of what rights they have to maintain that connection. This is where grandparents rights often are pursued.
What Are Grandparents’ Rights?
Grandparents often play an important part in the upbringing of the children involved in a divorce case. In certain situations, the grandparent may be ordered parental responsibilities for a grandchild or may be awarded visitation rights or actual parenting time.
Decision-making is synonymous with custody in other states. This means the child could potentially live full-time with the grandparent, and the grandparent would have the right to make all financial, legal, religious and educational decisions for the child.
Visitation rights alternatively would allow the grandparent to still regularly see the child and maintain that familial connection and relationship.
Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
Sometimes the situation calls for the grandparent to step in and assume decision-making responsibilities for the grandchild. In these situations, a proceeding can be started in district court where the grandparent seeks allocation of parental responsibilities for the child.
A person, other than a parent, can file a petition under C.R.S. section 14-10-123 in the county where the child is a permanent resident or where the child is found. But this can only be done if the child is not currently in the physical care of one of the child’s parents. If someone, such as a grandparent, has had the physical care of the child for at least 182 days or more, he or she can bring an action for allocation of parental responsibilities.
Another situation occurs when the grandparent has been granted custody of the child through a juvenile court order. In these situations, the grandparent will file a certified copy of the juvenile court order in the county where the child is a permanent resident.
The parental responsibilities handled in these proceedings include the same responsibilities that would be included if the case only involved the two parents. Decision-making for all legal, medical, education and other important decisions are handled, as well as the determination of where the child will live full-time.
An allocations of parental responsibility order, also called an APR order, does not permanently end the rights of the parents of the child but will grant the grandparents the right to make these important day-to-day decisions for the child.
Both parents must receive notice of the proceeding and have the right to contest the matter at a hearing. The court will still grant parenting time or visits with the child. The judge makes his or her ruling based on the best interests of the child.
If parental responsibilities are allocated to the grandparents, the parents are always able to file a legal proceeding later if they wish to obtain parental responsibilities again. A hearing would likely be held again. They would need to meet the same standard or burden of proof as they would in any other modification of parental responsibilities proceeding.
Call Us Today!
Grandparents’ rights can be a complicated matter, and we are here to help you through the process. Call the Law Offices of Kelli J Malcolm today for your free consultation at 720-261-7287.