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Obtaining rights to a child outside of divorce

There are times when Colorado residents who are not going through a divorce may find themselves in a child custody case. For instance, it may be necessary to determine custody or visitation rights if the parents are not married. It may also be possible for grandparents or others who are close to a child to pursue custody or visitation rights.

If a child's parents are not married, state law usually awards custody to the mother unless the father takes action to dispute this. In cases when the mother is deemed to be a good parent, the father may be granted shared custody of the child or have visitation rights. Custody or visitation arrangements may be made by court order, or the parents may come to an agreement on their own subject to court approval.

When a family member or other party wishes to gain custody over a child, the process generally starts by filing a petition with the court. The petition must generally state the relationship that this person has with the child, the status of the child's parents and reasons to grant custody. The child's parents must generally be given a copy of the petition if they are alive and their whereabouts are known.

In most cases, both parents can obtain some form custody or visitation rights. If a parent is unable or unfit to provide care, one may be able to petition for full custody. An attorney may be able to help a parent looking to obtain any level of custody.

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Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C.
42 Garden Center
Broomfield, CO 80020