Can grandparents and other third parties seek custody (APR) of a child?

Grandparents or any third party may seek custody or allocation of parental responsibilities (APR) of a child pursuant to C.R.S. § 14-10-123. However, in order to seek APR under this statute, one of these two conditions must be met – Either 1) the child must not be in the physical care of the parent; or 2) the petitioning non-parent must have had physical care of the child for six months or longer, and the petition must be filed within six months of the termination of the non-parent’s physical care of the child.

The statute requires the non-parent to give notice to the child’s parent, guardian, or person allocated parental responsibilities, who may appear and be heard on the petition for allocation of parental responsibilities. If APR is granted, the court will also establish a child support order requiring the parent or parents to pay you child support.

The court will apply the best interests of the child test just like in any other allocation of parental responsibilities case. However, keep in mind that the rights of a parent are still important here, even if the child is not currently living with them. Thus, these third-party / non-parent APR cases can become complicated. If you are a non-parent and interested in filing for custody of a child, we encourage you to contact our office and schedule a consultation to discuss your options with one of the experienced family law attorneys at Smith & Shellenberger, LLC.