Once you become a grandparent, your life changes. Most often, you are more than ready to enjoy spending time with your new grandchild and caring for them when their parents need a break. However, when divorces happen, you may become estranged from the child’s mother or father and, depending on their custody agreement, you may not see your grandchild as much as you’d like to—or even at all.

If you find yourself rarely, if ever, seeing your grandchild in divorce, you’ve probably thought about if you can gain legal visitation with them. Well, in Colorado, you can request visitation with your grandchild in these circumstances:

  • if their parents divorce or the marriage is annulled
  • if someone else has legal custody of the child (except in the case of adoption by a non-stepparent)
  • if your child (the parent of the grandchild) is deceased

However, in a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling for Troxel vs. Granville, grandparents seeking additional visitation rights with their granddaughters after their father died were not granted them. They already had some visitation when their mother remarried and her new husband adopted them.

Courts always evaluate what is in the best interest of the child in custody or visitation rulings. So the court must believe visitation is in the best interest of the child to legally grant it to grandparents.

For children who have been removed from their home due to domestic violence, neglect or abuse, grandparents may seek sole custody of their grandchildren. When evaluating whether to grant custody rights, the courts will examine how involved the grandparents have been in the child’s life, what the relationship between the grandparents and child is like, and if the grandparents are able to provide a safe, nurturing home for the child.

No one wants to spend less time with their grandchildren. If you find yourself suddenly cut out of your grandchild’s life because of divorce or your child’s death or other circumstances, consult a family law attorney for your best options moving forward.