By: Jessica A. Saldin,
In any family case, so much focus is put on going through your case and getting to the final orders, but what happens when you get an order and you aren’t happy? This article lays out your option when you get an order from the court that you do not agree with.
The first step is making sure you have a written, signed order. Nothing can be filed regarding changing the order until it is put in writing and signed by the judicial officer. While this may seem fairly obvious, there are circumstances that can occur that lead people to forget this first step. For example, often at the end of a hearing the court will simply enter an oral ruling and, if you are not happy with that ruling, it is easy to want to jump to the next step to seek relief from that order. But until the oral ruling is reduced to writing and signed by the judicial officer, it is premature to file any documents seeking relief. Another issue to be aware of is the effect of a minute order. During court proceedings it is common for the court clerk to be typing a record of the proceedings, which is known as a minute order. If the judicial officer signs that minute order, that is sufficient to serve as a final written order to start the deadline for relief from that order. However, if the judicial officer does not sign the minute order, you still need a signed order before you can proceed to seek relief from the order.
The next step is to determine whether the order was issued by a magistrate or a judge because that impacts the process you follow to seek relief from the order. If the order was issued by a magistrate, in most instances the only procedure to seek relief from the order is to file a petition for review pursuant to C.R.M. Rule 7. You cannot ask a magistrate to reconsider their order, clarify their order, amend their order, etc. The petition for review is the only avenue for relief. Additionally, if you do not file a petition for review, you cannot file an appeal of the order to the appellate court. The petition for review is a prerequisite of being able to file an appeal. The petition for review must be filed 14 days from the date of the order if the parties are present when the order is entered, or 21 days from the date of the order if the order is mailed or otherwise transmitted to the parties. To clarify, if the court enters an oral ruling, but the written and signed order is issued later, and mailed or electronically submitted to the parties, that will still follow the 21 day deadline. You only follow the 14 day deadline if the court hands you the written and signed order in court. Continue reading