Can you seek custody of your grandchildren?

Your grandchildren may spend some time in your physical care if your children are unwilling or unable to provide adequately for your needs. If this situation endures for some time, you may wonder if you are able to seek custody of your grandchildren.

According to the Colorado Bar Association, though many people still use the term “custody” informally, the correct legal term is allocation of parental responsibilities. Under certain circumstances, you can ask the court for allocation of parental responsibilities for your grandchildren. The court can grant it if it decides that the allocation would be in the children’s interests.

When can you request allocation of parental responsibilities?

You can submit the request to the court once your grandchildren have been in your physical care for at least 182 days. These days do not need to be consecutive, and the parents can have had physical care of the children in the interim.

Do the parents have to give their consent?

Parents, and anyone else who has had parental responsibilities for the children previously, need to receive notice of your petition. They have the right to respond, either by appearing before the court or submitting the response in writing. However, the court has the right to disregard the parents’ objections and allocate parental responsibilities to you if it determines that doing so is in the children’s interests.

What factors does the court consider when making the determination?

The court considers many factors in deciding whether allocating parental responsibilities to you would be in the children’s interests. Of particular concern is any evidence of child abuse and neglect in either your history or the parents’.

The court also looks at the children’s relationships with you and with their parents and the pattern of involvement with them that both sides have shown. It considers your abilities and those of the children’s parents to prioritize the needs of the children. It takes the wishes of the children’s parents into consideration as well as the preference of any children with the reasoning ability to express them.