Something went wrong in my case…what can I do now? One of our Denver divorce attorneys and family attorneys will sit down with you and evaluation your options following Orders that have been issued by a court in your case.
If you are dissatisfied with Orders you received in your case, then the next question you will ask yourself is whether you can do anything about the results. Depending on the error in the court’s orders, there are different avenues available to proceed with an appeal of the court’s orders in your case.
If a Magistrate issued the Order, you may appeal to the District Court Judge pursuant to C.R.M. 7. If a District Court Judge issued the Order, you may appeal directly back to that same Judge by filing a “Motion for Post-Trial Relief” pursuant to C.R.C.P. 59, and, as relevant to family law cases, ask that he or she amend the findings of fact, amend the judgment or request a new trial. Another means to seek relief exists in the event of a clerical error, fraud, misrepresentation, mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect pursuant to C.R.C.P. 60. In addition, you may seek review of the court’s orders with the Court of Appeals or the Colorado Supreme Court. Each of these means of appeal have different timeframes within which you may seek review, and as such, it is highly advisable to contact an experienced family law attorney immediately after receipt of your orders to discuss the available options.
However, just because you are unhappy with the court’s orders alone doesn’t mean that you can mount a successful appeal. Each of the methods listed above have different standards for a successful appeal, so it’s important to consult a divorce and family law attorney who handles appeals to review your probability of success.
A simplistic statement of the basis for an appeal is when the court has made an error in law that has caused harm to the your rights, or altered the outcome of the case in a manner harmful to you. An appeal may also be sought when the court abused its discretion when it considered the facts and then issued its orders.
If the court either abused its discretion or mis-applied the law, and therefore warrants an appeal to the Court of Appeals, you do not have much time to determine whether to file an appeal. Once a “final, appealable” order has been issued by the court, you have only 42 days to submit your “Notice of Appeal,” the pleading that officially starts the appeal process. Shortly thereafter, a transcript of the proceedings needs to be ordered and a “Designation of Record” must be filed with the District Court, so that the relevant pleadings and exhibits from the trial court can be prepared and sent to the appellate court as part of the “Record on Appeal.” Thereafter, you will need to file an “Opening Brief,” and the other party will then file a “Answer Brief.” Then, you will the opportunity to see what the other party has stated concerning your position, and file a “Reply Brief.”
Thereafter, the court may hold oral argument concerning your appeal. The court will listen to your arguments and ask questions concerning the mistakes you believe the trial court made in your case, and then the oral argument session will end. At some point in the future, the court will then issue a written opinion that will contain its decision on your appeal.
The description above is a brief summary of the appellate process. It does not include the various challenges that may arise during the appellate process, such as testimony that was not properly recorded by the court’s recording device, or documents and exhibits that were not properly included in the initial record on appeal. These are extraordinary circumstances that should be handled by an experienced appellate attorney, such as those at Sauer & Petterson Family Law.
The appeals process includes important deadlines and very technical requirements. Our divorce attorney team at Sauer & Petterson Family Law, LLC has experience with commencing appeals as well as defending against an appeal commenced by the other party.