Custody agreements set terms on how parents may see their children and how frequently. Although it may be enforceable for a period, there might also come a time when children prefer a different arrangement. What can parents do about this? At what age can a child refuse to see a parent in Colorado? What does the law say?
Age Children Can Refuse Visitation in Colorado
To answer this simply, Colorado custody laws state: “There is no magical or statutory age at which kids get to decide as to custody or visitation.” Additionally, many courts allow kids more autonomy starting at the age of 14. When a child turns 16 or 17, most courts also consider more closely the child’s preferences.
However, there are some ambiguities in Colorado law which usually results in court battles and legal wrangling when custodies and teenagers come to light. According to C.R.S. 14-10-129, there should be enough evidence to show that there is emotional impairment or physical harm to the development of the child before any custody agreement can be changed. Even if the child is already 16 and he or she claims they want to live with a specific parent, but their custodial parent does not pose any harm to their development, then the primary residential custody will remain.
Generally, for most states, if a child doesn’t want to see a parent, then it’s best to visit the original order including the child’s situation. You need to file a petition before you can change any terms on the original custody agreement. For the new agreement to be accepted, several factors come into play. Generally, the court will allow changes on the original custody agreement under the following conditions:
- If all parties involved agree to the new terms and that agreement favors the best interest of the child. 2. If the child is of deemed age (as mentioned in Colorado, as early as 14 and more weight when the child becomes 16 to 17) and that child stated their visitation preferences or which parent he or she wishes to live. However, this will still be under evaluation against the best interests of the child.
- If the parent who has the primary residential right of the child chooses to give up their custody voluntarily or if other factors suggest the primary custodial parent can no longer take care of the child in their best interest
- If there are other substantial evidence to support the child’s claim to refuse visitation or change custodial parent.
The court will investigate multiple factors before allowing any changes to the original custody agreement. Other factors to consider may be parental fitness, financial capabilities, child caring and even the current existing relationship with the child. The kid may need to be interviewed for the courts to understand the situation better.
What If Your Child Wants to Refuse You
Parents do not have complete control over their children. If your child wishes for the visitation or custody agreement to be changed, then you should try respect this as much as possible. You can run into more trouble if you refuse it. Furthermore, the court may hold you in contempt if you cannot follow the decision of your child. The other parent can also have more power to set the terms of the custody. Depending on the situation, the court can decide to impose the modification, supervise the visitation or cancel it altogether.
It is always disheartening to find a child refusing to see his or her parent, so it is advisable for parents to work on a solution together. The child must have a good reason for wanting to refuse the visitation or change custody. Children need support from parents or guardians whenever their family situation changes. There are divorce cases that hit children hard. Some kids need more help than others. If you want the best for your child, see how the separation has affected him or her.
As there can be ambiguities in the Colorado custody laws, it is best to consult a lawyer. An excellent and experienced lawyer can help you navigate through the system. He or she can also tell you how you can handle your situation or if there is a chance to overturn any possible decisions against you. Your lawyer can assist you in determining the best course of action while preserving the best interest of your child. Goldman Law has the right attorneys to help anyone in Colorado working through a custody agreement.