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Teenagers and Colorado Parenting Plans

Teenagers and Colorado Parenting PlansWhen 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 Solutions 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.

Client Reviews
Excellent service! Sabra and her team work diligently while looking for all the little details that impact the case. Im so grateful to have found this firm. Great communication from start to finish. Also they were very patient with my lack of understanding the court process. Highly recommend! Chris Faucett
As an active duty service member I can definitely say that at Janko Family Law Solutions I was served with the utmost professionalism, in a timely and efficient manner. Very glad I discovered these experienced professionals to assist me in my legal circumstances, and I will certainly be recommending them to people in the future. Rebecca Cody
Sabra and her office are wonderful to work with! ... very knowledgeable, supportive, and compassionate during the entire process. The experience and legal expertise are evident. Tim Halladay
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