Though not strictly speaking a means of obtaining grandparent visitation, grandparents today often end up raising their grandchildren, and may seek to obtain physical care (the term Colorado uses for "custody") over them.
There are three primary avenues through which a grandparent in Colorado may obtain custody over a grandchild:
- If Colorado authorities remove a child from a parent's home, under C.R.S. 19-1-115 grandparents in Colorado have preference for the child's placement over other potential foster parents (but not preference over the other parent).
- Any person, including a grandparent, with actual physical care of the child can petition a Colorado family law court for allocation of parental responsibilities in Colorado. C.R.S. 14-10-123.
- Any person, including a grandparent, who had physical care of the child for at least 6 months, within 6 months of the termination of the physical care, can petition a Colorado family law court for an allocation of parental responsibilities.C.R.S. 14-10-123.
Colorado grandparent custody rights are not automatic. Rather, like a parent seeking custody, the Colorado family law judge must determine first whether the grandparent would be a suitable custodian. Courts may consider any credible evidence of past child abuse or neglect by the grandparent in determining whether to award custody.