Appeals of Family Law Matters
An appeal is a legal action that is undertaken in an attempt to overturn a district court’s decision. It is based on a claim that the district court made a clear error in the case, incorrectly judged the facts or failed to follow the applicable law. It’s typically initiated by the filing of a Notice of Appeal within 45 days of the entry of a final order or judgement of the district court. The notice must list all the issues that the briefs filed within the appeal will address.
Once the Notice of Appeal is filed, the appealing party must file a Designation of Record on appeal. The district court will then prepare the official record on appeal. Once the record on appeal is filed, the appellate court will typically issue an order designating the briefing schedule to be followed in the case. The first brief that is filed is the Opening Brief, followed by the Answer Brief followed by any Reply Brief.
If your spouse has filed a Notice of Appeal and you wish to appeal your own issues, you would file a Notice of Cross-Appeal. This must be filed within the same 45 days of the final order, or 15 days of the filling of the Notice of Appeal, whichever is longer. The briefs filed with cross-appeal are slightly different than the ones mentioned above as well as the time frames for filling. We can help you understand what is the necessary action and time frames for a cross-appeal, and assist you in this process.
Once all the briefs have been filed with the appellate court, it is possible to request oral arguments. After all briefs have been filed and all oral arguments have been completed the Court of Appeals will issue an opinion. The appellate court does not take new evidence, they will only address issues raised in the trial court. If either party disagrees with the appellate court’s decision, that party can pursue a writ of certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court to review the decision. The Colorado Supreme Court has discretion as to whether or not they choose to hear a case. In some special circumstances, parties are able to pursue an immediate appeal directly to the Colorado Supreme Court, called a C.A.R. 21 Petition.