Colorado Grandparents Fight For Custody of Grandchildren.

Daniel Noffsinger - Saturday, January 03, 2015

Child custody disputes are difficult for everyone involved, especially the child. It is unfortunate that child custody disputes are a common reality, whether it is between parents, between grandparents and parents, or between parents and the state. A recent case involving Colorado grandparents highlights some of the difficulties that can be encountered in custody disputes.

Colorado Grandparents Seek Custody of Grandchildren in Indiana

Colorado grandparents recently filed a motion in Weld District Court seeking to obtain temporary custody of their three grandchildren. The grandparents have sought custody of their grandchildren following an Indiana grand jury indictment of the father in connection with allegedly killing his wife.

The custody battle is complicated by the fact that the children are located in Indiana. The Weld District Court Judge ruled on the grandparent’s motion and that “because Indiana is now the Fallis children’s ‘home state’ since moving there with their father in January 2013, a Colorado court would not have jurisdiction to rule on a child-custody case.” The court went on to state that “absent an Indiana court declining to exercise jurisdiction,” the court could not enter orders affecting the rights of the children.

In addition, the grandparents have filed a petition seeking an order determining their parental rights through their role as the children’s maternal grandparents. The Weld District Court Judge, however, did not address this petition in his ruling on the grandparent’s motion for custody. The grandparents believe that under Colorado law, the court should have determined whether they have certain rights to the children. The grandparents have also filed a petition in Indiana to gain custody of their grandchildren.

Child Custody Rights of Grandparents Under Colorado Law

Under Colorado’s Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, a grandparent can petition the court to obtain parental responsibilities of a child if the child is not in the physical care of one of the child's parents. Or, if the grandparent has had the physical care of a child for a period of six months then the grandparent may obtain custody, but only if the petition is commenced within six months of the termination of such physical care. The grandparent commences an action by filing a petition seeking the allocation of parental responsibilities with respect to a child in the county where the child is permanently resident or where the child is found. Notice of the filing must be given to the child's parent, guardian, and custodian or person allocated parental responsibilities.

When deciding whether to give a grandparent parental responsibility for a grandchild, the court will consider “any credible evidence of the grandparent's past conduct of child abuse or neglect.” This evidence may include medical records, school records, police reports, information contained in records and reports of child abuse or neglect, and court records. Each child has certain rights with respect to the determination of matters relating to parental responsibilities, including parental determinations being based on the best interests of the child.

Contact a Colorado Springs Child Custody Attorney

If you have questions regarding child custody rights, an experienced Colorado Springs child custody attorney can help answer your questions. Noffsinger Law LLC has extensive experience helping families through a variety of child custody disputes and issues. Contact a Colorado Springs child custody attorney today for a free initial consultation.