Grandparents who have care and control of their grandchildren can receive an award of attorney fees from the parents to help pay the legal expense of going to court. How the Courts consider awarding attorney fees to one party from the other party is primarily governed by Colorado Revised Statutes 14-10-119. It is a very short statute consisting of two sentences that leaves great discretion to the Judge. Colorado intends the award of attorney fees to level the playing field so that both parties are able to have an attorney represent them. The Court looks at the financial resources of each party and if one has significantly larger resources available to them than the other party, an award of attorney fees can be made on a temporary basis in the beginning of the case as well as on a permanent basis at the end of the case. This is an area where rulings can differ from Judge to Judge under similar fact circumstances. This is a statute that can provide a person with limited financial resources the ability to hire a competent attorney to defend their rights in a case where otherwise such a person would be unable to afford an attorney for their case.
For a Grandparent to be eligible to ask for an award of attorney fees, they will have to be asking for more than just visitation rights. The Grandparent must be asking the court to recognize the fact that they have actually taken care of their grandchildren like a parent, not a babysitter. The situation to effectively become a third parent and have court ordered custody rights to a child is limited to specific sets of fact circumstances and minimum events must have happened. The situations for the Grandparent to become a "third parent" are detailed Colorado Revised Statutes 14-10-123. This statute enables Grandparents to take custody of their grandchildren when the actual parents are failing the child. If a Grandparent is awarded some custody rights by 14-10-123, the Grandparent is eligible to ask the Court to award them attorney fees for their legal costs.