ColoradoChild Visitation Laws
Colorado Child Custody Guide :: Table of Contents
What is child visitation?In the context of a child custody case, visitation is defined as the rights for a non-custodial parent to see their child, or as temporary custody that's been granted for a period of time to an otherwise non-custodial parent or relative.
In general, courts in Colorado assume that it is beneficial for both biological parents of a child to have shared custody or visitation, unless it is shown to be against the child's best interests. A biological parent who is denied custody may be awarded visitation rights to provide for a relationship between the parent and child.
Visitation by grandparents, family members, or other third-parties is less clear cut in Colorado, and nationwide. While there are state guidelines regarding third-party visitation in certain situations, these laws are frequently challenged.
Above all else, courts in Colorado strive to make custody and visitation decisions that are "in the best interests of the child". The court handling each individual visitation case has significant flexibility in determining what arrangement is in the child's best interests. You can read about Colorado's visitation guildelines on this page.
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How are Visitation Rights Granted?In Colorado, a biological parent or grandparent of a child may request visitation, also known as parenting time, as part of an existing divorce, parentage or custody case. When reviewing a request for visitation the court will determine if a grant of visitation rights is in the best interest of the child.
C.R.S. 14-10-124(1.5)(a) outlines the criteria to determine whether a parenting schedule is in a child's best interests:
- The wishes of the child's parents;
- The wishes of the child, if sufficiently mature (typically starts about 12 or so),
- The relationship between the child, the parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
- The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability alone shall not be a basis to deny or restrict parenting time;
- The ability of the parties to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other party;
- Whether the past pattern of involvement of the parties with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support;
- The physical proximity of the parties to each other;
- Whether a party has been a perpetrator of child abuse or neglect;
- Whether a party has been a perpetrator of spouse abuse;
- The ability of each party to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs.
In the state of Colorado, there are a number of laws regarding child visitation regarding visitation for third-parties other than the biological parents of the child. While state laws regarding third-party visitation have been frequently been challenged in courts, they are a good indication of Colorado's positions regarding non-parental visitation rights.
Visitation Rights Of Grandparents In Colorado:
Colorado has special statutes regarding the child visitiation rights of grandparents under different circumstances. Under state law, the grandparents of children may obtain visitation while the parents are alive, regardless of the parent's marital status.
Regardless of state presumptions regarding grandparent's visitation rights under specific circumstances, a Colorado court may allow or prevent visitation rights in any situation based on the best interests of the child.
Visitation Rights Of Other Parties In Colorado:
Are step-parents granted visitation rights in the state of Colorado?
Generally it is an uphill battle for step-parents seeking visitation rights for a step-child, especially if the biological parents of the child are alive and are opposed to the visitation.
Under Colorado law, legal provisions do exist to grant child visitation rights to step-parents under certain circumstances, so visitation can be readily applied for. In all cases, third-party visitation rights are more likely to be granted by the court if they are deemed to be in the best interests of the child.
Can other interested parties or relatives be granted visitation rights to a child in Colorado?
Under state of Colorado law, it is not generally possible for any other interested party other than those specified to be granted child visitation rights. In rare cases this may be overruled by the court.
Can parents be granted visitation rights after termination of parental rights or adoption in Colorado?
In the state of Colorado it may not be possible to be granted visitation rights after losing parental rights or giving up a child for adoption. This is the case with both biological parents and previous guardians.