According to the last Census figures, more than 35,000 Colorado grandparents are raising their grandchildren. About 40% of those grandparents have cared for their grandchildren for more than five years.
So yes, grandparents can get custody of grandchildren if certain requirements are met. However, grandparents are not guaranteed custody, even if they have cared for their grandchildren before. Grandparents must have a reason to file for child custody of their grandchildren, and this process can get complicated-especially if one or both parents is still alive and involved in their children’s lives.
If you are a grandparent who wants custody of your grandchildren, speak to a child custody lawyer as soon as possible. At Shapiro Family Law, we understand how grandparents get custody of grandchildren. Call us at 303-695-0200 so we can get started on your case.
Legal Considerations of Child Custody Cases in Colorado
While grandparents might use the term “custody” to mean caring for their grandchildren on a daily basis, but Colorado now uses the phrase, “Allocation of Parental Responsibility” (APR). APR involves the following:
- Decision-making responsibilities about the child’s medical care, education, religious upbringing, and other welfare issues; and
- Parenting time, or the amount of time a child spends with their caregivers.
When grandparents petition the Court for APR, they are requesting the authority to make important decisions about their grandchildren. The Judge will make a decision on that petition based on the best interests of the children.
Filing an APR Petition
Colorado state law allows someone other than a parent to petition for custody under certain circumstances. The statute provides that in some instances you must have had the child in your care for at least 182 days in the past 182 day period.
If you are a grandparent, we can file your APR petition. After we file your petition, the Court will schedule a hearing and make a determination about your case.
What to Do Before the APR Hearing
In Colorado, grandparents must notify the child’s parents about the upcoming APR hearing. They must also inform any other legal guardians or other non-parents who previously had custody. This gives the parents and other non-parents a chance to respond to the grandparents’ APR petition.
Having legal representation is beneficial at this time because parents-or other non-parents-may object to grandparents taking care of the children. We can speak on your behalf and explain to the Court why it is in your grandchildren’s best interest that you take care of them.
If you are a grandparent, keep in mind that the Court can allow visitation to your child’s parents if:
- The parents petition to visit their children; and
- The Court believes it is in the best interest of your grandchildren.
Reasons Why Grandparents Might Seek Custody of Their Grandchildren
Unfortunately, parents’ lives can become complicated for various reasons, which requires grandparents to step in and care for the children. Grandparents typically seek custody of their grandchildren when:
- A parent has died;
- Parental responsibilities have been given to someone other than the children’s parents;
- One or both parents are incarcerated; or
- The children have been removed from their parents’ care because of child abuse, neglect, or another criminal act.
Our attorneys look for evidence and compelling reasons that show why your grandchildren would benefit from you gaining custody.
Factors a Court Considers Prior to Granting an APR Petition
The Court takes several factors into consideration before giving grandparents custody of their grandchildren.
Shapiro Family Law Can Help You With Your Child Custody Needs.
Whether you are a grandparent or a parent, the family law attorneys at Shapiro Family Law can help you with your APR petition and other issues. We have years of experience handling the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, divorce, and legal separation.
Call us today at 303-695-0200 for a case evaluation with one of our attorneys.