Appeals to Colorado Court of Appeals

Martin Law Firm Handles Family Law Appeals from Colorado District Court Judgments & Orders to the Colorado Court of Appeals


The Colorado Court of Appeals reviews the final orders and judgments made by Colorado District Courts and has authority to reverse or modify the decisions made by trial court judges.

An appeal is commenced in a Colorado Family Law civil case by filing a Notice of Appeal within 49 days of the entry of a final order or judgment of the district court.  The deadline to file an appeal is jurisdictional: if the appeal is not timely filed, then the Court of Appeals loses its authority to review the matter and the district court decision will stand.

Appeals are typically based upon an assertion that the district court either made a clear error in resolving the facts of the case, abused its discretion in making the decision or misinterpreted or failed to follow the applicable law.  Although the Court of Appeals will give the judge latitude in how the facts of the case were resolved, decisions on what law to apply is reviewed de novo.  A de novo review involves the appellate judges determining for themselves what legal principles, statutes or legal precedence governs the dispute without being bound by what the trial judge decided.

The parties to the appeal are the appellant, the party initiating the appeal and asking that the decision of the district court be reviewed, and the appellee, the party defending the trial court’s judgment or order.  The appellant is responsible for obtaining a copy of the record of the trial court proceedings and prepares and files the opening brief setting forth the background of the case, disputed decisions made by the trial court and legal arguments showing that the judge made a mistake.  The appellee responds to the opening brief setting forth their position and arguments in opposition to the appellant.

The appellate process is governed by the Colorado Appellate Rules (C.A.R.) prescribed by the Colorado Supreme Court.

The process and time schedule for pursuing a civil appeal is:

Filing the Notice of Appeal in a Civil Case:

  • Appellant’s Filing/Docket Fee of $223 (collected by Court of Appeals): C.R.S. § 13-4-112
  • Cost Bond of $250 (collected by Trial Court): C.A.R. 7
  • Due 49 days following the entry of the order to be appealed: C.A.R. 4(a)

Designation of Record:

  • Due 14 days after filing Notice of Appeal: C.A.R. 10(b)

Transcript of Trial Court Proceedings:

  • Due when Record on Appeal is filed: C.A.R. 11(a)

Record on Appeal Filed:

  • Due 91 days after Notice of Appeal: C.A.R. 11(a)

Opening Brief:

  • Due 42 days after Record on Appeal is Filed: C.A.R. 31
  • Form of the brief: C.A.R. 28(a)

Answer Brief:

  • Due 35 days after the Opening Brief is served: C.A.R. 31
  • Form of the brief: C.A.R. 28(b)

Reply Brief:

  • Due 21 days after the Answer Brief is served: C.A.R. 31
  • Form of the brief: C.A.R. 28(c)

Oral Argument:

  • Must be requested by separate motion made within 7 days of filing Reply Brief: C.A.R. 34(a)
  • Requests to reschedule must be made within 7 days of the date a notice of setting the oral argument is issued
  • Oral arguments are audio/video taped by the Court of Appeals and may be viewed over the internet at this link: Live Video

The information provided above is general in nature, is not intended as legal advice for your particular situation and should not be relied upon without first consulting with legal counsel.  Martin Law Firm provides legal representation in divorce and family law matters in the Denver Colorado metro area and will tailor its services to your particular needs and unique circumstances.

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