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Understanding Family Court Appeals In Colorado

Family court decisions can have a significant impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones. Whether it’s a divorce, custody arrangement, or child support order, these decisions can shape your future and that of your family. It’s essential to understand what family court decisions can be appealed in Colorado and the appeals process.

A family court appeal is a legal process that allows a party to seek a review of a decision made by a lower court. The purpose of the appeal is to determine whether the initial decision contained legal errors or an abuse of discretion by the magistrate or judge. In Colorado, family law issues decided by a magistrate are appealed to a district court judge, while orders issued by a judge are appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals. However, for an appeal to be considered, the order must be fully decided, and a final written order must be issued.

What Types Of Family Law Cases Can You Appeal? 

Typically, family court decisions that can be appealed include parenting time, child support, division of property, and maintenance (spousal support). However, not all decisions can be appealed, and an appellate court cannot reverse a decision simply because they would have made a different decision. In general, for an appellate court to overturn a trial court’s decision, the appellate court must find that the trial court abused its discretion or made a decision contrary to Colorado law. Mistakes made by the court, misunderstanding or misrepresentation of facts, and misunderstanding/misapplication of the law are some of the legitimate reasons for an appeal.

If you receive an order that you believe is unfair or unjustified by the evidence presented to the court, filing an appeal may help you correct the errors. However, determining whether your case has a chance of success on appeal can be challenging. An experienced family law attorney can help you assess your case’s likelihood of success on appeal and represent you in the process if you decide to file an appeal.

What Are The Legal Grounds For Making An Appeal?

If you are considering appealing a family court order, there are several legal grounds to do so, including misrepresentations by the other party, misunderstandings of the case facts, mistakes or misapplications of the law by the court, and abuse of discretion by the judge. Consulting with a family law attorney is highly recommended to determine the legitimacy and likelihood of success of your appeal.

When Does An Appeal Need To Be Filed?

It is crucial to note that appellate deadlines are strict, and missing them can bar you from appealing altogether. If the original order was issued by a magistrate, you have 14 days to seek review from a district court judge. If the order was issued by a judge, the notice of appeal must be filed within 49 days of the written order. Failing to file your notice of appeal or petition for magistrate review in a timely manner can result in the loss of your opportunity to file an appeal.

What Are The Possible Outcomes Of An Appeal?

Four possible outcomes of an appeal are reversal, remand, affirm, and modification. The reversal means the initial decision in your case was wrong and is vacated. Remand sends the case back to family court to be heard again. Affirm holds the first decision of the family court to be correct, and your decision remains the same. Modification means the Appellate Division can change a part of the initial decision. However, filing an appeal does not put a hold on a family court order, and the original order remains in place and can continue to be enforced while the appeal is pending.


Understanding what family court decisions can be appealed in Colorado is crucial. If you’re not satisfied with a family court decision, you have the right to appeal, but it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine whether an appeal is the right course of action. The appeals process can be complicated and time-consuming, but it can also provide a path to a fair and just outcome. Don’t hesitate to exercise your right to appeal if you believe a family court decision was incorrect or unjust.

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced family lawyers takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. We understand the financial burden a divorce can have on an individual. As such we have created our industry-first SimpleStart™ program, providing people a chance to reduce the amount of money needed upfront to start their case. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today! Let us make a positive difference in your life.

By: MFL Team

Posted April 21, 2023



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