For most people, visitation rights apply to parents in a divorce scenario or unmarried parents who no longer have a relationship with each other. However, there are other family members who may love a child and play an important role in their life. As a grandparent, few things can hurt worse than getting cut out of the lives of your grandchildren.

Whether a divorce, a death, state intervention or a break-up resulted in one parent losing custody or one parent having sole legal custody, if the parent caring for the children doesn’t cooperate with the grandparents, the child will be the one who suffers through the loss of that close relationship.

As a grandparent dealing with the heartbreak of a contentious custody scenario, you may want to be there for your grandchildren. It can feel like you have no rights and no options when a parent won’t let you see or communicate with your grandchildren. Thankfully, Colorado does recognize that grandparents should also have the right to legally authorized visitation with grandchildren in contentious custody scenarios.

Colorado law recognizes grandparents and great-grandparents

Although some states have family laws that only recognize biological or adopted parents, Colorado courts take a much broader view of familial relationships and the best interests of the child. In fact, the state doesn’t even have laws about custody anymore, preferring to refer to parental rights and responsibilities instead.

State law specifically allows grandparents and great-grandparents with pre-existing, positive relationships to request that the courts authorize visitation even if the custodial parent is not currently cooperating with them.

Seeking formal visitation shows that you’re serious about your role

Divorce, breakups and state intervention can all result in upheaval and emotional distress for children. The custodian parent denying grandparents access may do so out of a misguided desire to make things as stable as possible for a child, without realizing how short-sighted their approach actually is.

Seeking visitation now through the courts may cause more short-term strife, but it will unquestionably demonstrate both to the custodial parent and your grandchildren how seriously committed you are to that relationship. In time, you may be able to repair the damage that has occurred and return to a more amicable relationship with the parent as well as your grandchildren.