In Colorado, most people will encounter some sort of hearing at some point during their family law case. I want to discuss the role of judges in family court, there judges considered to be district court judges and other judges are magistrate judges who work under the district court judge. Both types of judges are permitted according to the law to conduct important hearings involving family law disputes such as temporary orders, child support hearings or ultimately to enter final orders.
There is no right to a trial by jury in family law. So all of your cases that involve contested issues are going to be tried in front of a judge. Our Colorado judges have a lot of experience and a lot of training in dealing with different family law issues and so it’s important to recognize that when you’re testifying in court and you wish to make a point in front of the judge, that you try to establish some eye contact with the judge.
Ultimately judges get to decide which of the two parties is more credible. Credibility is a significant issue in these cases and it signifies to a judge which parent or which party may be more truthful than the other parent. So having documents or evidence that back up your position, or in some cases photographs or police reports, to show the court that you are a credible and truthful person is significant in any kind of testimony that you may give.
It is the judge’s responsibility at the end of a hearing to make a ruling and when the judge does make a ruling, whether it’s temporary orders or a permanent orders hearing, the judge will assign either one of the attorneys to write the final orders or the order from the hearing. Or the court, if there are now lawyers involved, will issue an order as to what all those rulings are.
In the magistrate court, there are limitations as to whether you can appeal the ruling of the magistrate under magistrate rule seven, so you should be familiar with that rule. If you have an attorney your attorney should know that rule. And if it is a ruling from the district court, then the appeal process would go to the Colorado court of appeals.