January 16, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: District Court Had Jurisdiction Under UCCJEA to Enforce Parenting Time Orders Issued by Georgia Court

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Parental Responsibilities of W.F.-L. on Thursday, November 15, 2018.

Parenting TimeUniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement ActMootness—C.R.S. § 14-13-205.

Father and mother have a child together but were never married. A Georgia court entered a final order in 2011 and a modified parenting plan in 2012 concerning the child. In 2014, mother and the child relocated to Colorado. In 2016, father petitioned to register the 2012 parenting plan in Colorado under C.R.S. § 14-13-305. Mother responded that both the parenting plan and the 2011 final order needed to be registered in Colorado and co-petitioned to register both orders.

Father then filed a verified motion under C.R.S. § 14-10-129.5 alleging that mother was not permitting him to exercise his parenting time or to contact the child. Mother opposed and moved to modify parenting time. At the final orders hearing, the district court entered an order registering the Georgia orders in Colorado and adopting the parties’ stipulations for future parenting time. It found that it lacked jurisdiction to grant father the enforcement remedies he sought and denied his C.R.S. § 14-10-129.5 motion.

The court of appeals first rejected mother’s argument that father’s appeal of the denial of his enforcement motion was moot because the district court adopted the parties’ stipulations to modify the Georgia parenting time order. Father’s requests were not mooted by the modification order, as they remain undecided and could have been ordered in addition to modification.

Father argued that the district court erred in finding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction and therefore denying his C.R.S. § 14-10-129.5 motion. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) governs a Colorado court’s enforcement of parental responsibilities orders entered in other states. Under C.R.S. § 14-13-305(1), a parental responsibilities determination issued by a court of another state may be registered in Colorado and a Colorado court may then “grant any relief normally available under” Colorado law to enforce the registered parental responsibilities determination. On registering the Georgia orders, father was entitled to seek the same remedies as if those orders had been entered in Colorado, including C.R.S. § 14-10-129.5’s backward-looking remedies, and the district court was empowered to grant any enforcement relief normally available under Colorado law as to those orders. Accordingly, the district court erred in denying father’s motion.

The order was reversed and the case was remanded for the district court to address father’s C.R.S. § 14-10-129.5 motion.

Summary provided courtesy of Colorado Lawyer.

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