First Regular Session
Sixty-first General Assembly
LLS NO. 970583.01 JGG
SENATE BILL 97152
STATE OF COLORADO
BY SENATOR Wattenberg
A BILL FOR AN ACT
CONCERNING GRANDPARENT VISITATION TIME WITH GRANDCHILDREN.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced
and does not necessarily reflect any amendments which may be subsequently
Authorizes a person to seek a court order granting reasonable visitation time with such person's grandchild in circumstances in which a child custody case is not pending and has not been filed. Establishes a procedure whereby a court must find that there is good cause for the person to seek a court order for such visitation time. Identifies what constitutes good cause.
Directs a grandparent seeking visitation time to file an affidavit with the court stating the reasons why such visitation would be in the best interests of the child and demonstrating a substantial relationship between the petitioning grandparent and the grandchild. Requires notice to be sent to the party who has legal custody of the child along with a copy of the affidavit. Allows the party with legal custody of the child to file opposing affidavits. If the court finds that the grandparent seeking visitation time has made a showing of good cause, directs the court to allow the grandparent to file a petition with the court for visitation time. Authorizes the court to refer the parties to mediation prior to a hearing on the petition.
Places the burden of proving that the visitation is in the best interests of the child upon the grandparent at the hearing. If the court finds that the grandparent had been denied the opportunity to visit with the child from birth to adolescence, authorizes the court also to order the parties and the grandchild to participate in family counseling. Repeals such provisions in 5 years.
Makes conforming amendments.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. 191117, Colorado Revised Statutes, 1986 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended to read:
191117. Grandparent visitation
time with grandchild. (1) Any
grandparent of a child may, in the manner set forth in this section,
seek a court order granting
THE GRANDPARENT reasonable grandchild
visitation rights VISITATION TIME
WITH HIS OR HER GRANDCHILD when there is or has been a child custody
case. Because cases arise which
THAT do not directly deal with child custody but nonetheless have
an impact on the custody of a child, for the purposes of this
section, a "child custody case" includes any of the
following, whether or not child custody was specifically an issue:
(a) That the marriage of the child's parents has been declared invalid or has been dissolved by a court or that a court has entered a decree of legal separation with regard to such marriage;
(b) That legal custody of the child has been given to a party other than the child's parent or that the child has been placed outside of and does not reside in the home of his OR HER parent, excluding any child who has been placed for adoption or whose adoption has been legally finalized; or
(c) That the child's parent, who is the child of the grandparent, has died.
(1.5) (a) IN ADDITION TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (1) OF THIS SECTION, A GRANDPARENT MAY SEEK A COURT ORDER GRANTING REASONABLE VISITATION TIME WITH HIS OR HER GRANDCHILD, WHETHER OR NOT A CHILD CUSTODY CASE IS PENDING OR HAS BEEN FILED. A GRANDPARENT MAY SEEK SUCH AN ORDER ONLY UPON A PRELIMINARY FINDING BY THE COURT THAT THERE IS GOOD CAUSE FOR SEEKING A COURT ORDER FOR SUCH VISITATION TIME. GOOD CAUSE SHALL INCLUDE, AT A MINIMUM, EVIDENCE OF UNREASONABLE DENIALS OF VISITATION OPPORTUNITIES BETWEEN THE GRANDPARENT AND THE GRANDCHILD BY THE CHILD'S PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR LEGAL CUSTODIAN.
(b) A GRANDPARENT SEEKING VISITATION TIME PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION (1.5) SHALL FILE IN THE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT IN WHICH THE CHILD RESIDES AN AFFIDAVIT STATING THE REASONS WHY VISITATION TIME NEEDS TO BE SOUGHT BY COURT ORDER AND WHY SUCH VISITATION TIME IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD AND SETTING FORTH SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PETITIONING GRANDPARENT AND THE GRANDCHILD. SUCH INFORMATION SHALL INCLUDE, AT A MINIMUM:
(I) EVIDENCE THAT THE GRANDPARENT HAS SPENT SIGNIFICANT AND REGULAR TIME WITH THE GRANDCHILD;
(II) EVIDENCE THAT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE GRANDPARENT AND THE GRANDCHILD IS POSITIVE AND THAT IT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD FOR THE RELATIONSHIP TO CONTINUE;
(III) THE AMOUNT OF TIME THE GRANDCHILD HAS SPENT WITH THE GRANDPARENT;
(IV) EVIDENCE OF UNREASONABLE DENIALS OF VISITATION OPPORTUNITIES BETWEEN THE GRANDPARENT AND THE GRANDCHILD BY THE CHILD'S PARENT, GUARDIAN, OR LEGAL CUSTODIAN; AND
(V) THE FREQUENCY AND REGULARITY OF CONTACT THE CHILD HAS HAD WITH THE GRANDPARENT OVER THE COURSE OF THE CHILD'S LIFE.
(c) IN DETERMINING WHETHER GOOD CAUSE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED, THE COURT SHALL CONSIDER THE INFORMATION SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH (b) OF THIS SUBSECTION (1.5) AND THE FACTORS SET FORTH IN SECTION 191117.7.
(d) A GRANDPARENT SEEKING AN ORDER PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION (1.5) SHALL GIVE NOTICE, TOGETHER WITH A COPY OF THE AFFIDAVIT, TO THE PARTY WHO HAS LEGAL CUSTODY OF THE CHILD. THE PARTY WITH LEGAL CUSTODY OF THE CHILD MAY FILE OPPOSING AFFIDAVITS. UPON A FINDING BY THE COURT THAT THE GRANDPARENT HAS MADE A GOOD CAUSE SHOWING AS REQUIRED BY THIS SUBSECTION (1.5), THE COURT SHALL ALLOW THE GRANDPARENT TO PETITION THE COURT FOR VISITATION TIME WITH THE GRANDCHILD PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION (2) OF THIS SECTION. PRIOR TO A HEARING ON THE PETITION OR ENTRY OF AN ORDER, THE COURT MAY REFER THE PARTIES TO MEDIATION PURSUANT TO SECTION 1322311, C.R.S., TO ATTEMPT TO RESOLVE THE ISSUES. A GRANDPARENT SEEKING VISITATION TIME PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION (1.5) SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTIONS (2) TO (5) OF THIS SECTION.
(e) THIS SUBSECTION (1.5) IS REPEALED, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2002.
(2) A party seeking a grandchild visitation
order shall submit, together with his OR HER motion for visitation,
to the district court for the district in which the child resides
an affidavit setting forth facts supporting the requested order
and shall give notice, together with a copy of
THE affidavit, to the party who has legal custody of the child.
The party with legal custody may file opposing affidavits. If
neither party requests a hearing, the court shall enter an order
granting grandchild visitation rights
TIME to the petitioning grandparent only upon a finding that the
visitation is in the best interests of the child. A hearing shall
be held if either party so requests or if it appears to the court
that it is in the best interests of the child that a hearing be
held. At the hearing, parties submitting affidavits shall be
allowed an opportunity to be heard. THE GRANDPARENT BRINGING
THE PETITION SHALL HAVE THE BURDEN TO PROVE THAT THE REQUESTED
VISITATION TIME IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD. If, at
the conclusion of the hearing, the court finds it is in the best
interests of the child to grant grandchild visitation rights
TIME to the petitioning grandparent, the court shall enter SUCH
an order. granting such rights.
IF, AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE HEARING, THE COURT FINDS THAT THE
GRANDPARENT HAS BEEN DENIED THE OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT WITH HIS
OR HER GRANDCHILD FROM BIRTH TO ADOLESCENCE, THE COURT MAY ALSO
ORDER THAT ALL OF THE PARTIES AND THE GRANDCHILD PARTICIPATE IN
(3) No grandparent may file an affidavit
seeking an order granting
visitation rights VISITATION TIME
WITH A GRANDCHILD more than once every two years absent a showing
of good cause. If the court finds there is good cause to file
more than one such affidavit, it shall allow such additional affidavit
to be filed and shall consider it. The court may order reasonable
attorney fees to the prevailing party. The court may not make
any order restricting the movement of the child if such restriction
is solely for the purpose of allowing the grandparent the opportunity
to exercise his grandchild visitation
rights VISITATION TIME WITH HIS OR
(4) The court may make an order modifying
rights A GRANDPARENT'S VISITATION
TIME WITH A GRANDCHILD whenever such order would serve the best
interests of the child.
(5) Any order granting or denying parenting
time rights to the parent of a child shall not affect
rights THE VISITATION TIME granted
to a grandparent pursuant to this section.
SECTION 2. 1413103 (1) and (2), Colorado Revised Statutes, 1987 Repl. Vol., as amended, are amended to read:
1413103. Definitions. As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) "Contestant" means a person,
including a parent, who claims a right to custody, grandparent
TIME, or parenting time rights with respect to a child.
(2) "Custody determination" means a court decision and court orders and instructions providing for the custody of a child, including grandparent visitation TIME or parenting time rights; it does not include a decision relating to child support or any other monetary obligation of any person.
SECTION 3. 1413110 (1) (c), Colorado Revised Statutes, 1987 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended to read:
1413110. Information under oath to be submitted to the court. (1) Every party in a custody proceeding under section 1410123 shall, in said person's first pleading or in an affidavit attached to that pleading, give information under oath as to the child's present address, the places where the child has lived within the last five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during that period. In this pleading or affidavit, every party shall further declare under oath whether:
(c) Said party knows of any person not
a party to the proceedings who has physical custody of the child
or claims to have custody, grandparent visitation
TIME, or parenting time rights with respect to the child.
SECTION 4. 1413111, Colorado Revised Statutes, 1987 Repl. Vol., as amended, is amended to read:
1413111. Additional parties.
If the court learns from information furnished by the parties
pursuant to section 1413110 or from other sources
that a person not a party to the custody proceeding has physical
custody of the child or claims to have custody, grandparent visitation
TIME, or parenting time rights with respect to the child, it shall
order that person to be joined as a party and to be duly notified
of the pendency of the proceeding and of that person's joinder
as a party. If the person joined as a party is outside this state,
said person shall be served with process or otherwise notified
in accordance with section 1413106.
SECTION 5. Safety clause. The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.