CASEYFRANK

Attorney & Counselor

ARTICLES

MINORS: THRESHOLD AGES OF LEGAL CAPACITY


Type of Decision Age Limit Citation
Consent to an abortion 15-181 C.R.S. § 12-37.5-101
Consent to appointment of guardian 12 C.R.S. § 15-14-203(2)
Consent to medical treatment in general 15-182 C.R.S. § 13-22-101(1)
Consent to medical treatment in general if married None C.R.S. § 13-22-103
Consent to receive mental health services 15 C.R.S. § 27-10-103(2)
Consent by a guardian to sterilization of an incompetent (A hearing and court approval are required at any age) N/A C.R.S. § 27-10.5-130
Consent to medical treatment for your baby None C.R.S. § 13-22-103
Consent to treatment for birth control by a physician (If pregnant, married, a parent, or referred by others)3 None C.R.S. § 13-22-105
Consent to treatment for drug use or addiction None C.R.S. § 13-22-102
Consent to treatment for HIV/AIDS None4 C.R.S. § 25-4-1405(6)
Consent to treatment for pregnancy and birth None C.R.S. § 13-22-103.5
Consent to treatment for sexual assault None5 C.R.S. § 13-22-106
Consent to treatment for STDs None C.R.S. § 25-4-402(4)
Donate blood, organs, or tissues while alive 18 C.R.S. § 13-22-104
Donate organs after death 186 C.R.S. § 12-34-103(1)
Engage in sex willingly 15 or 167 C.R.S. § 18-3-402
Engage in sex willingly Under 158 C.R.S. § 18-3-405
Engage in sex willingly with a person in a position of trust 189 C.R.S. § 18-3-405.3
Engage in sex games willingly over the internet 1510 C.R.S. § 18-3-405.4
Execute a CPR directive 18 C.R.S. § 15-18.6-102
Execute a living will 18 C.R.S. § 15-18-103(1)
Execute a medical power of attorney 18 C.R.S. § 15-14-505(1)
Make a disposition of one's last remains 18 C.R.S. § 15-19-103(1&2)
Nominate one's own guardian 12 C.R.S. § 15-14-206(1)
Serve as a guardian 21 C.R.S. § 15-14-102
Serve as a health care agent by a medical POA 21 C.R.S. § 15-14-603(4)
Termination of guardianship 1811 C.R.S. § 15-14-210(1)
Witness a living will None L.W. law Silent12

1 One only has to be 15 years old, if “living separate and apart from his or her parent, parents, or legal guardian, with or without the consent of his or her parent, parents, or legal guardian, and is managing his or her own financial affairs, regardless of the source of his or her income,” or is married, under C.R.S. § 13-22-103(1). The statute is titled “Age of Competence.” The phrase “emancipated minor” occurs in several other statutes for specific purposes. “Mature minor” is not used. Physicians who rely on the consent of an emancipated or married minor are not liable to their parents, under C.R.S. § 13-22-103. The same statute exempts the parents from financial responsibility unless they have consented.

Otherwise, there are requirements to notify parents or guardians in advance under C.R.S. § 12-37.5-104. However, there are exceptions to the notice requirements: (1) If a minor is a “victim of child abuse or neglect by the acts or omissions of the person who would be entitled to notice,” or (2) if a court determines either that “notice will not be in the best interest of the minor,” or that “the minor is sufficiently mature to decide whether to have an abortion” under C.R.S. § 12-37.5-107, or (3) that having an abortion was a medi-cal emergency. C.R.S. § 12-37.5-105(c).


2 One only has to be 15 years old, if “living separate and apart from his or her parent, parents, or legal guardian, with or without the consent of his or her parent, parents, or legal guardian, and is managing his or her own financial affairs, regardless of the source of his or her income,” or is married. C.R.S. § 13-22-103(1).


3 But only when referred by a “physician, a clergyman, a family planning clinic, a school or institution of higher education, or any agency or instrumentality of this state or any subdivision.” C.R.S. § 13-22-105.


4 However, if the patient is under 16, “the minor's parents or legal guardian may be informed by the facil-ity or physician of the consultation, examination, and treatment.” C.R.S. § 25-4-1405(6).


5 However, a reasonable effort to first obtain consent from the minor victim’s parent or guardian must be made; if consent is denied, child protection reporting is required, C.R.S. §§ 13-22-106 & 19-3-301.


6 Same as ¶ 1, above, under C.R.S. § 13-22-103(1).


7 Unless your partner is at least 10 years older and not your spouse (§c).


8 Unless your partner is at least four years older and not your spouse (§d); Matches C.R.S. § 18-3-402.


9 This is a felony against the person in a position of trust when the minor is less than 18 years of age, but the severity of the punishment is even greater when the minor is less than 15 years of age.


10 It is a crime only if the minor is less than 15 years of age and the partner is at least four years older.


11 Same as ¶ 1, above, under C.R.S. § 13-22-103(1).


12 Analogously, the statute governing testamentary (property) wills has no specific, minimum age re-quirement for witnesses, C.R.S. §§ 15-11-505(1) & 13-90-101, as long as the witness has the “capacity to observe, remember, and recount” the will’s execution. People v. Dist. Court, 647 P.2d 1206, 1214 (Colo. 1982). There are other limits on L.W. witnesses.

Frank, Casey. (2008, October 20).