Teenagers and Colorado Parenting Plans
When parents divorce, a parenting plan is put into place that sets forth the time that each parent will have with the children. Teenagers can throw a wrench in the best laid parenting plans. They have begun becoming more independent, to include choices about how to spend their time and who to spend it with. While they may enjoy spending time with their parents, now they want to divide their time often with their friends as well.
In Colorado, there is no set age at which children can choose whether to exercise parenting time as there is in some states. However courts understand the difficulty of enforcing parenting plans as to teenagers, and as a general guideline many courts will begin to pay more attention to the desires and preferences of children around age 14.
Parenting plans with regards to teenagers is a common area of disagreement and even litigation between parents. Courts have a great deal of discretion in the crafting and enforcement of parenting plans. Colorado law says that a parent should encourage the child to exercise parenting time. However, physical force, of course, is not expected. Arguments can ensue about whether a parent is diligently encouraging parenting time.
Common reasons why a teenager may not want to spend parenting time with the other parent are:
- The teenager may think that a parent is too strict
- A parent doesn’t want to drive the teenager to extracurricular activities
- The teenager does not want to make transitions between households
- The teenager and a parent’s relationship has deteriorated.
Colorado courts, absent safety concerns, want both parents to be actively involved with their children. Parenting plans are enforceable and a parent can be held liable for not complying. These situations can be especially complex and subject to substantial court discretion.Parental Obligation to Facilitate Parenting Time
The Colorado Court of Appeals decided in In re Dean that “[a]lthough it might be difficult to compel a child, particularly a teenager, to comply with a court-ordered parenting plan, this does not excuse a parent from making reasonable good faith efforts to secure the child’s compliance.” The Court of Appeals decided that a parent is not a “powerless bystander” and is obligated to attempt to “overcome the child’s resistance” to parenting time. So a parent is expected to take affirmative action to encourage visitation. What this looks like in practice is often subject to disagreement.Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
An attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters by negotiating, mediating and litigating. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on spending your time trying to figure out the overly complex court system. Colorado Springs Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. The court system is more complex than it should be. Change can be stressful, however it can lead to a better future. Janko Family Law helps ensure that your best interests are protected and that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations.
Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.