Denver Real Estate Law and Family Law Blog. (Vol 1.35) May 14, 2014
By Craig Franklin Chambers Esq. 7851 S. Elati Street #204, Littleton, CO 80120
The Littleton Lawyer.
As a Littleton law firm practicing family law, divorce and real estate law in Denver, Littleton, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Englewood, and Centennial, I often appear in Court in Jefferson, Arapahoe, Douglas, and Denver County. I am often asked by my clients: Who will hear my case in a divorce?
When a Colorado Dissolution of Marriage Proceeding is filed, the clerk of the court assigns a case number to the case, and based on the case number, the case is randomly assigned to a Magistrate who works under a Judge. The Decree in a divorce proceeding is the document signed by the Judge granting and finalizing the divorce.
Issues that arise before the Decree of Dissolution is granted are called "Pre-Decree" issues. These issues include case management, temporary orders, temporary child support, and temporary spousal maintenance matters.
The Magistrate usually hears Pre-decree issues. The initial status conference is usually heard by a magistrate or a court facilitator who is a clerk working for the magistrate.
Unless the parties consent to the Magistrate, the Judge hears the issues for the final or Permanent Orders, including division of property and debts, allocation of parental responsibility, child support, spousal maintenance, parenting time and custody issues.
Issues that occur after the Decree is signed by the judge are called "Post-Decree" issues. These include modifications of the permanent orders such as modification of parenting time, decision-making authority and child support as well as contempt citations to enforce the court's orders.
Post-Decree issues are usually heard by the magistrate.
This is the procedure in Jefferson County where I often practice. In Arapahoe County, you are assigned a judge or magistrate in a divorce, and, unless you object to the magistrate within 14 days of your first appearance, your right to object to the magistrate is waived.
This is another example of why you should retain an attorney who is familiar with the process and procedure of the exact court in which your case is filed. Each judge has a different experience both prior to and on the bench.
It is important in representing the client to be familiar with the thought-processes of individuals judges so as to be able to properly advise the client as to what are the best strategies to effectively present your case.