Some Colorado grandparents may have concerns about whether they will be allowed to visit their grandchildren. All states have statutes that enable the court to hear petitions concerning this issue. The court’s decision is based on what is best for the child as well as the rights of a parent to make a decision about how their child should be raised.
The statutes are divided into two main types. Some states have restrictive visitation statutes that allow only grandparents to petition the court for visitation if one of the parents died or if the parents are divorced. Other states have permissive visitation statutes and allow a request for visitation by individuals other than grandparents even if the parents are living or remain married.
In 2000, a case in Washington addressed this issue. The mother limited the amount of time the grandparents were allowed to visit with her children. A Washington court ruled against the mother’s wishes, and the case was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court decided that in this instance the state violated the mother’s rights over the control, custody and care of her children. The ruling of the lower court was overturned. Although this ruling only applied to the Washington statute, other states have become more cautious about granting visitation rights to a third party.
Although some disputes over grandparents’ visitation rights are settled by court intervention, there may be other ways to reach an agreement. Using mediation sessions with the parents may help provide a resolution. An attorney may help grandparents who wish to spend time with their grandchildren by reviewing the parent’s objection and structuring a visitation plan that may be acceptable. If this is not possible, the attorney may help with mediation or present the matter to the court for deliberation.
Source: FindLaw, “Colorado Child Custody Laws,” 2014
Source: FindLaw, “Grandparent Visitation Rights“, November 19, 2014