Strategically helping Colorado clients through divorce & custody cases

Articles Posted in Family Law

Published on:

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

Published on:

diary-page-1240501-300x237By: Stephen J. Plog

After over twenty years of practicing family law in the Denver area, I’ve seen all sorts of odd situations.  The stories I could tell range from run of the mill tales of spouses behaving badly to the truly bizarre.   Of course I cannot tell those stories due to the oath of confidentiality taken at the outset of my career.  Perhaps one of the most bizarre things I have seen as an attorney is when one party fails to show for their final divorce hearing. Fortunately, I cannot recall one instance in which this has happened to one of my clients.  I have have taken plenty of calls from potential clients calling after they’ve missed their hearing.  The vast majority of the time they are calling when it’s frankly too late to fix things.  The idea for this article flows from my reading a recent article online in which a used-to-be famous Hollywood start failed to show for his divorce hearing.

In some of these calls, there seems to be this misperception held by some people that if they fail to show up the court is somehow going to be looking out for them, going to be “fair,” or that the other side is going to go into the final hearing and ask for whatever their most recent settlement offer was.  Sadly, it just doesn’t work that way.  Firstly, pursuant to Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 55, a court can enter orders in default if a party fails to show up to court, or to take part in the process.    However, missing one’s final divorce or child custody hearing takes not reading multiple documents warning a party that failure to show up may lead to adverse, default orders being entered against them.  These warnings start at the outset of each case when the parties receive the court’s Case Management Order.  In most Denver area court, the Case Management Order has language somewhere indicating that failure to show or take part may result in default orders being entered.  Yet people fail to heed the warning. Continue reading

Published on:

denver-s-capital-building-1215927By:  Jessica A. Saldin

A prior blog post of mine discussed recent, and upcoming, changes to the child support statute and its potential impact on Colorado family law cases.  This blog post will discuss additional changes that I believe still need to be made by the Colorado Legislature to our family law statutes, for both clarity and consistency.

First, one glaring needed change regards voluntary unemployment considerations.  Prior to the recent child support statutes, a parent could not be considered voluntarily unemployed or underemployed if they were caring for a child of the parties under the age of 30 months.  However, one of the recent changes to the child support law was to change that age to 24 months.  The maintenance statute has not been similarly changed.  This could lead to disparate results in cases that involve both maintenance and child support.  For example, if a parent is not working because they are caring for a 27 month old child, that parent could be imputed income for the calculation of child support, but would still not be imputed income for the calculation of maintenance.  It is unclear whether this disparity was the intention of the legislature or simply an oversight.  However, it is my opinion that it was likely an oversight that will be rectified.  The child support statute basically indicates the legislature does not believe it is equitable for a parent to pay increased child support due to the other parent’s unemployed if the parties’ child is older than 2 years.  It seems unlikely that the legislature would still find it equitable for a parent to pay increased spousal support (supporting the other parent, more than the child) when it is not equitable to pay increased child support under the same circumstances.

Continue reading