• calendar25th Feb 24 11:00 pm
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Key Factors To Consider Before Filing A Divorce Appeal

Going through a divorce, no matter how amicable, is emotionally taxing and requires a lot of time and effort. This is particularly true for couples married for many years or sharing children. Reaching the end of the legal procedure can feel like a heavy weight being lifted off your shoulders. However, for individuals who disagree with the judge’s final decision, the outcome can feel overwhelming and frustrating. Fortunately, there may be options to request the higher court to review your case. Residents in Colorado have the right to appeal family court decisions under some limited circumstances, but the divorce appeal procedure can be complex, and many factors must be considered before proceeding with the process. Call the Colorado Divorce Law Group at (720) 593-6442 to speak with a seasoned divorce lawyer who may be able to review your case and options and help with the divorce appeal process.

Can You Appeal a Divorce?

Parties can file an appeal for orders involving the division of property, parenting time, or child support. However, the higher courts only hear cases that meet the rules established under Colorado family law. Some divorced former spouses may be eligible to file appeals, but there are many aspects to evaluate before petitioning the court. The appellate court will not step in and reverse decisions simply because a dissatisfied former spouse disagrees with the lower court judge’s decision. Even in the best circumstances, winning the appeal is not guaranteed. Some examples of legal grounds to appeal a family court divorce order include:

  • The family court misinterpreted certain factual elements or made mistakes.
  • The law was misapplied.
  • Factual inaccuracies were introduced by one or both of the parties, deliberately or inadvertently.

Whether a divorce is contested or uncontested, parties have the right to appeal a ruling in the Colorado Court of Appeals if they can show legal standing. One essential point to note is that thinking another judge would have ruled differently is not a valid reason to take legal action. The divorce appeal process is complex and time-consuming, and it requires substantial understanding of family law proceedings. A qualified attorney at the Colorado Divorce Law Group may be able to help divorced spouses navigate the challenges and overcome the hurdles.

Appellate Courts Reverse Only in Limited Situations

If a person thinks there were misinterpretations or misapplications of the law, they could have grounds to file appeals and request that the appellate court review the judge’s decision.

While certain circumstances could mean there is potential for a divorce appeal, the court will review the case to look for specific components before issuing its decision. Examples of cases the higher court may agree to hear are those with evidence of an error in the law or a misinterpretation of the facts presented in the case that led to a mistake in the final order.

Types of Family Court Orders You Can Appeal

When cases fail to establish all the necessary elements to appeal, the court may decline to hear the case even if there are valid reasons to initiate the procedure. Some of the family court orders individuals may be able to appeal include the following:

  • Parent visitation schedules, referred to as parenting time
  • The amount of child support or spousal maintenance
  • Parental decision-making authority
  • The division of marital property
  • Inaccurate or erroneous allocation of a spouse’s separate property
  • Incorrect determination of a spouse’s income or imputed income

According to the Colorado Revised Statutes § 14-10-120, divorce decrees are final unless either party to the dissolution of marriage files an appeal before the statutory deadline.

What Are the Chances of Winning a Divorce Appeal?

Appeals involving trial court judge misinterpretation or misapplication of the law may be the most successful. This is referred to as a de novo review.  However, the process can take up to a year, and the appeals court is more likely to agree with the original judge’s decision unless the petitioner’s case is compelling.  The other standard, which is abuse of discretion, may be more difficult to prove and depends on the evidence and orders from the trial court proceedings.

Time Limit To File a Notice of Appeal

When someone disagrees with the court’s decision, initiating legal action to appeal immediately is best. According to the Colorado Judicial Branch, the maximum amount of time to file the notice of appeal is within 49 days of the final order. Missing the statutory deadline means losing eligibility to appeal.  However, if your orders were issued by a Magistrate rather than a Judge, the rules are different and you should consult with an attorney immediately upon receiving your final order to avoid missing deadlines.

How Do I Appeal a Divorce Decree?

The divorce decree must be final to file an appeal. After a party files a Notice of Appeal, a brifing schedule is issued, and oral arguments may be heard. After reviewing the appeal, the appellate judges will decide on one of the four potential Colorado Appellate Rules, and those are:

  • Reverse and remand. If the judge determines there was a misapplication of the law or the court issued an order based on an abuse of discretion, they may reverse a divorce decree and throw out the lower court’s decision.This will necessitate a remand back to the trial court to rehear the case and issue new orders.
  • Affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand. The appellate court may remand the decision and send the case back to the original family court for them to hear it again and either issue a new decision or make no changes.
  • The appellate court may determine it agrees with the lower court and issue an affirmation of the decision, leaving the initial decree as it is.

Many people disagree with the family court judge’s final decisions about their divorce case. However, a difference of opinion does not constitute legal grounds for an appeal — there are specific circumstances that must be present.

Meet With an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

The divorce process in itself is challenging and stressful and can leave you emotionally and financially drained. When you disagree with the final divorce decree, the frustration with the process can feel overwhelming. While you have the option to ask the higher court to hear your case and set aside the family court judge’s decision, specific circumstances must be present; otherwise, the appeals court will refuse to hear the case. There are thus many key factors to consider before filing a divorce appeal. Schedule a consultation with an experienced family lawyer at the Colorado Divorce Law Group by calling (720) 593-6442 today.