Can grandparents file for visitation ("family time")?
A grandparent or great-grandparent can file a petition for visitation, known as “family time,” in the district court where the child lives if:
- there is/was a child custody case; or
- any of the following are true:
- there is/was a case for divorce, legal separation, or one in which the marriage of the child’s parents was declared invalid;
- legal custody/parental responsibilities have been given or allocated to someone who is not the child’s parent or the child does not live in the home of the child’s parent – but this doesn’t apply if the child has been placed for adoption or already adopted; or
- the child’s parent, who is the child of the grandparent or grandchild of the great-grandparent, has died.1
If the child’s parent or custodian objects to the petition, the judge would hold a hearing to decide if grandparent family time is in the best interests of the child. The judge must assume that the parent’s decision regarding visitation is in the best interests of the child but the grandparent can present evidence to change the judge’s mind and convince the judge to order visitation. The judge will also consider the best interest factors that are used in custody proceedings between parents when making a decision.2
A petition seeking grandparent family time can only be filed once every two years unless there is proof of “good cause” to file more than once in a two-year period.3
Note: If an order for grandparent family time is issued, and the parent refuses to follow it, the judge can hold the parent in contempt of court and issue various penalties or conditions to ensure that the parent follows the order. You can read the actions the judge can take in our Selected Colorado Statutes page.
1 C.R.S. § 14-10-124.4(3)
2 C.R.S. § 14-10-124.4(4)
3 C.R.S. § 14-10-124.4(6)
4 C.R.S. § 14-10-124.5(2)