In Colorado, what is more commonly known as “child custody” is now technically referred to as “parental responsibilities.” Whatever you call it, few things are as important as settling issues of parenting time with a child and decision-making authority in the child’s life.

Although every child custody case is unique, some are more complex than others. In perhaps the most straightforward example, two married individuals who are the parents of a child get divorced, and allocating parental responsibilities is a matter of coming to middle ground on how the child’s time will be split between the parents and how decisions affecting the child’s life will be made. Even this scenario can require months of negation to resolve, and with families becoming increasingly diverse, it can be difficult to determine who even has standing to take a legal stance in a child custody case under Colorado law.

Contact Harold Faletti today for an initial consultation to discuss how you can protect your child’s future.

Nonparents must meet certain criteria in order to seek parental responsibilities

Normally, each of a child’s biological parents automatically has standing to petition for parental responsibilities. Unless it can be shown that a parent is unfit and it is in the child’s best interests for a nonparent to have custody, Colorado courts generally favor giving parental responsibilities to a parent.

A nonparent may have standing to intervene in a child custody case in limited circumstances. If a nonparent has been physically caring for a child for at least half a year, the nonparent may commences a legal action seeking custody as long as he or she does so within half a year of ceasing to have physical care of the child. Nonparents may also seek custody if neither of the child’s parents are physically caring for the child. In addition, nonparents who have been allocated parental responsibilities or granted custody through a juvenile court order have standing to file a petition for parental responsibilities.

There are a special set of rules concerning standing for grandparents who wish to file a petition seeking visitation rights. If parents have denied grandparents’ visitation, their decision is presumed to be in the child’s best interests. Children who are members of “intact” families – that is, their parents are still married to each other – cannot be the subject of a grandparent visitation suit.

However, grandparents may have standing to pursue an action for visitation if the grandparents’ child (the parent of the grandchild in question) has passed away, if the grandchild is not in the custody of one of his or her parents, or if the parents of the grandchild have divorced or legally separated. As with other custody and visitation matters, the best interests of the child will guide a court in determining whether or not to grant grandparent visitation.

Contact a Colorado family law attorney about your child custody matter

Are you wondering if you have standing to intervene in a custody matter? Is there a child in your life who you believe would benefit from your care and attention, but you are being prevented from providing it? Is someone trying to usurp your role as a parent? If any of these questions are applicable to your situation, you need assistance from an experienced family law attorney. A Colorado family law attorney can help you navigate the laws of the state while straightening out your custody matter. Do what’s best for your family, and get in touch with a family law attorney today at Harold Faletti Law office,  contact us at (303) 438-8477.

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