At what age can a child choose which parent he or she wishes to live with?
The age of majority in Colorado is 18 for parenting time and 19 for child support. Legally the court loses jurisdiction to enforce parenting time once a child has reached 18 years old. There are exceptions to this like a permanently disabled child or a child who emancipates early.
There’s a joke about this situation, does a 6,000 pound gorilla sleep? Anywhere he wants. The discrepancy between the parenting time age and child support age has created parenting time problems for many parents who find themselves with an obstinate teenager who no longer wishes to follow the court order.
For example it is extremely difficult to force a 17 year old who decides that he or she is just not going to go to the other parent’s house anymore to actually go. If the parent who is no longer getting time with the child files for relief from the court, the child will likely turn 18 before the court can enforce its order. Once the child turns 18, the court loses jurisdiction over the child regarding parenting time. The parent who is no longer getting time will still have to pay child support until the child is 19. Parents in this situation really need to choose how much money they’re willing to invest to enforce orders in those final teenage years.
Kate Miller is a Denver, Colorado attorney focused exclusively on the practices of divorce and family law. She has lived many of the issues regarding divorce and child custody, and is passionate about helping people through this process. To learn more about Kate and her firm visit www.MillerFamilyLawLLC.com.