Parenting time is one of the most important issues involved in Colorado divorce and child custody disputes. All cases involving a child will include determining: (1) who the child will live with and for how long; and (2) the parenting time / visitation rights of both parents. Sometimes, both parents can reach an agreement regarding parenting time without the need for court intervention. In fact, it is not uncommon for both parents to split parenting time evenly.
Unfortunately, however, not all custody disputes are resolved in such an amicable fashion. If both sides are unable to reach an agreement, it will be up to a Colorado court to make a decision. Once a court has ruled on a child custody matter, it issues what is called an “order.” Court orders are legally binding on all parties named in the dispute. But what happens when one party chooses not to follow the court’s order?
Colorado Rev. Stat. (CRS) § 14-10-129.5 governs noncompliance of parenting time orders. Under § 14-10-129.5, courts have several methods of remedying a parent’s noncompliance with a parenting time order. In resolving a parent’s noncompliance with a parenting time order, the court will keep the child’s best interest in mind. The court can:
- Set the matter for a hearing
- Require the parties to seek mediation
- Issue an order imposing additional terms and conditions
- Issue an order requiring either parent to attend a parental education program
- Issue an order requiring all parties to participate in family counseling
- Issue an order requiring the violator to post bond or security to ensure future compliance
- Issue an order holding the noncomplying parent in contempt of court (which can include fines or jail time); and
- Issue an order requiring the noncomplying parent to pay the aggrieved party’s attorney’s fees and court costs
Typically a parent seeking to enforce a parenting plan will file a Motion Concerning Parenting Time Disputes. The parent could also file for contempt, but the other option is more appropriate.
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Lauren Lester is an affordable family law, estate planning, and probate lawyer licensed in Colorado.