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Do Great-Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Colorado?

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In Colorado, by statute, a grandparent can ask the court to grant them the right to have visitation time with their grandchildren.

However, what about great-grandparents?

A recent Colorado Court of Appeals case, In re the Parental ResponsibilitiesConcerning M.D.E., 2013 COA 13. No. 12CA2482, has made it clear that a great-grandparent does not have standing, or the independent legal right, to seek visitation.

In M.D.E.,the father challenged the district court’s order granting the great-grandmother’s motion to intervene.  The Court of Appeals looked at the statutory definition of a grandparent, which states that a grandparent is “a person who is the parent of a child’s father or mother.” Based on that definition, the Colorado Court of Appeals determined that a great-grandparent cannot be considered a grandparent within the meaning of the statute and, therefore, does not have standing, or the legal right, to seek visitation with their great-grandchild.

So, what can we learn from this case?

While the issue of great-grandparent visitation is uncommon, if you are going through a divorce and it is important to you that the child’s great-grandparents have time with the child, and your soon-to-be ex-spouse is not a fan of them, you may want to try incorporating visitation time for the great-grandparents into your parenting plan.