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lwpat, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 25386
Experience:  Practicing family law attorney
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I have a 14 year old stepson who is refusing to return to the

Customer Question

I have a 14 year old stepson who is refusing to return to the custodial parents home after a normal scheduled holiday visitation. What legal issues does this raise and how should it be handled?

The child indicates that there is emotional and mental abuse in the custodial home and won't go back. The custodial parent has attemted to limit access and has attempted to make it impossible for the child to contact the non-custodial parent outside of court ordered phone contact and visitation schedules.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  lwpat replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for posting your question to JA/Pearl. Legal questions often take time for research or I may be offline so please be patient, I will reply.

I am very sorry to hear of your step son's situation. However, the child does not get to chose and the non custodial parent has to obey the current court order. Otherwise the non custodial parent can be charged with contempt of court and can be incarcerated for willfully disobeying a court order.

The child is now old enough to testify. However, for a change of custody there has to be a substantial change of circumstances and that is a heavy burden of proof. The non custodial parent can file for a modification of custody but there will need to be more evidence that just the child's statement. Sorry but that is the law and I cannot change the facts or the law, just try to explain them to you.

The place to start is a local family law attorney that knows the local judge and how he or she is likley to rule.


One option may be to try to take the child to a therapist and have the therapist evaluate the situation so that you will have an expert that could testify in any court proceedings.


Section 14-10-131(2), C.R.S.1998, provides that the trial court shall not modify a prior custody decree granting custody to one party unless it finds, based upon facts that have arisen since the prior decree, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or his or her custodian and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child


  • In re Marriage of Chatten, 967 P.2d 206 (Colo.App. 1998)
Expert:  lwpat replied 4 years ago.
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