In re the Marriage of Sharon D. Tibbetts, n/k/a Sharon D. Williams, Appellee, and Ronald L. Tibbetts, Appellant.
County District Court No. 11DR278 Honorable Brian J. Flynn,
Snider, Grand Junction, Colorado, for Appellee
Catherine Burkey, Grand Junction, Colorado, for Appellant
1 This post-dissolution of marriage appeal involving
parenting time for the child of Ronald L. Tibbetts (father)
and Sharon D. Tibbetts, now known as Sharon D. Williams
(mother), raises this question: Is an appeal of a parenting
time order mooted when the child who is the subject of the
order turns eighteen while the appeal is pending? Answering
this question "yes," we dismiss the appeal.
2 The parties married in 1998 and have one child, who was
born on November 14, 1999. When the marriage ended in 2011,
the court adopted their stipulated parenting time plan and
incorporated it into the decree. The parenting plan was
modified in 2014, again by the parties' stipulation,
which the district court adopted.
3 In 2016, father requested that the parenting plan be
terminated and that the child, who was then sixteen years
old, be free to determine her own parenting time schedule.
Mother responded that lack of a parenting plan would not be
in the child's best interests. After a hearing, a
district court magistrate denied father's motion to
terminate the parenting plan. The magistrate found that the
existing plan was working despite the child's
"avowed dislike of it" and that the then
seventeen-year-old child was "not yet an adult, and not
yet ready to go without a parenting plan altogether."
4 On father's petition to the district court for review
of the magistrate's order, the court adopted the order.
Father then appealed to this court, raising the following
issues: (1) whether the magistrate erred in finding that a
court cannot delegate parenting time decisions to both
parents; (2) whether the magistrate erred by applying the
endangerment standard in addressing father's motion to
terminate the parenting plan; (3) assuming the endangerment
standard applied, whether evidence showed endangerment; (4)
whether evidence showed that father had alienated the child
from mother; and (5) whether the parenting time plan ordered
by the magistrate is in the child's best interests.
Mother's Motion to Dismiss the Appeal
5 Father filed his opening brief on November 13, 2017, the
day before the child turned eighteen. Mother then moved to
dismiss the appeal, contending that because the child is now
an adult, the parenting time issues father raises on appeal
cannot be resolved as to her. Father responded that mother
could still move for contempt based on the parenting time
order and that the issue whether the magistrate erred in
ruling that parenting time decisions could not be delegated
to both parents was not moot. A motions division deferred the
motion to dismiss to the division deciding the merits and
instructed the parties to further address mootness in their
6 Based on the motion, the response, and the additional
arguments in the briefs, we dismiss the appeal as moot.
7 An appellate court will not render an opinion when the
issues presented have become moot because of subsequent
events. In re Marriage of Dauwe, 148 P.3d 282, 284
(Colo.App. 2006); see Colo. Mining Ass'n v.
Urbina, 2013 COA 155, ¶ 33 ("The power of
judicial review simply does not extend to moot
questions."); Giuliani v. Jefferson Cty. Bd. of Cty.
Comm'rs, 2012 COA 190, ¶ 15 ("Where ...