Aurora Grandparent Rights Lawyer
Proven Colorado Family Lawyers who Understand Your Rights
There are various situations in family law where the question of “grandparent rights” arises. The state of Colorado grants grandparents more legal rights than some other states do, and the Aurora grandparent rights lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. are proud to represent grandparents seeking visitation with or custody of their grandchildren. If you have questions relating to grandparent rights, our child custody and visitation lawyers can find you the answers, assess the strength of your grandparent visitation case, or let you know if you meet the criteria to seek custody of your grandchildren.
What are Your Rights as a Grandparent in Aurora?
The primary legal standard which Colorado courts adhere to in cases of child custody and visitation is that of the “best interest” of the child. This standard also applies in cases involving grandparent rights. When dealing with grandparent issues, there are two main types of cases our attorneys see, which are distinct and different from one another.
The first type of case is that of grandparent visitation. Colorado recognizes the bond that may arise between grandparents (or great-grandparents, as of 2014) and grandchildren, yet tempers the rights grandparents may have to visitation by balancing those rights with the wishes of the parents. As such, grandparents can only seek visitation rights, though the courts, in certain circumstances. Pursuant to C.R.S. C.R.S. 19-1-117, can seek legal visitation rights with their grandchildren if: (1) there has been a divorce, legal separation, or annulment case which involved the child; (2) there has been a custody case involving the child; (3) there has been another type of case involving placement of the child; or (4) the child’s parent who is the child of the grandparent has died. For grandparents to seek visitation there does not have to be on-going litigation in the underlying case and grandparents may seek visitation at any point, even years after that case is completed. A grandparent rights lawyer can help Aurora residents with this process.
Given the statutory parameters, it’s important to note that grandparents cannot file for visitation merely because they are estranged from the parents or just because the parents have split up. The most common scenario for a grandparent to seek visitation is when their child does not have frequent visitation with the grandchild or when there has been some sort of a rift between parent and grandparent. In any grandparent visitation case, the grandparents bear the burden of providing clear and convincing evidence that a parent who wants to deny them visitation is not acting in the best interests of the child and that visitation would be in the best interest of the child. Meeting this burden of proof can require presenting evidence of the strengths of the grandparent-grandchild relationship, which can tie into demonstrating both qualitative and quantitative aspects of contact.
Statute also provides that a petition for grandparent visitation can only be after two years from a prior such petition. As such, it’s important to make sure pleadings and evidence are in order prior to filing that initial petition. Our attorneys are aware of other nuances set forth in statute, including that changes to parenting time allocated to the parents cannot affect grandparent visitation or that grandparent visitation cannot prevent a parent from seeking to relocate to another states. At Plog & Stein, P.C., we represent both grandparents and parents dealing with a grandparent visitation issue, and can help you assess what is reasonable in light of the circumstances. We are also there for our clients when the time comes to either settle the matter or move forward with court involvement.
The second, significant legal situation in which grandparent rights arises is that of actual custody (parental responsibilities). Pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-123, there are certain situations in which a non-parent may seek custody of a child. This includes grandparents. In some cases, parents may leave their children in the care of the grandparent, perhaps due to being unable or unwilling to act as parents. Section 123 sets forth specific parameters and time frames and it is important to understand your rights mapped up with those dictates. In any grandparent case, the court is going to thoroughly assess what is going on with the child, the past history, and the parent’s ability to care for the child. Parents are afforded fundamental rights related to the raising of their children. As the standard for grandparents to obtain custody is still a “best interest” standard, they do not necessarily need to prove the parents are unfit. However, they will need to meet that same clear and convincing evidence standard when seeking custody over the parents. Our experienced custody attorneys have represented both grandparents and great-grandparents over the years. Likewise, we have helped parents defend against grandparent custody claims that do not comport with statute or the child’s best interest. Each case is different and we know that, in the end, detail matters. Taking our duties seriously, we are there for our clients at each step of the legal process.
Dedicated Grandparent Rights Attorneys Serving the Aurora, CO Area
Grandparents in Aurora have certain rights when it comes to the well-being of their grandchildren. If your child is going through a divorce or tough custody case and you have concerns about the care of your grandchildren, the seasoned lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. can offer sound advice as to what your options are and help you fight for what’s best for your grandchildren. Our Aurora grandparent rights attorneys work with many families across Colorado. Call us at 303-781-0322 or contact us online to set up an appointment to discuss your grandparent rights case today.