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Magistrate Review

Sometimes a Magistrate's final decision needs to be reviewed by a Judge in the District Court before an appeal may be started with the Court of Appeals. These materials will help you decide if a Magistrate Review is needed in your case.

Do I Need a Magistrate Review before I can Appeal?

Magistrate Review is NOT needed when:

  • A Judge issued the Final Order. (See below for more information on final orders)
  • A Magistrate decided the case after a contested permanent orders or allocation of parental responsibilities hearing.
  • A Magistrate decided a non-final order. Non-final orders cannot start an appeal.  

Magistrate Review IS needed when

Magistrate issued a Final Order deciding a …

  • Motion to Modify (child support, decision making, parenting time, or maintenance). 
  • Motion to Terminate (child support or maintenance)
  • Motion to Enforce/Restrict Parenting Time.
  • Petition for Contempt of Court.
  • Petition for Paternity (which decided child support too).
  • Motion for Relief from Judgment.
  • Temporary Orders (only issues of Child Support & Maintenance may be appealed from temporary orders, parenting time issues may not be appealed). 

What is a Final Order?

  • Only a Final Order may start the appeals process. Limiting which orders may be appealed is a check on an appellate court's power. Without a final order, an appellate court does not have the legal authority (jurisdiction) to review the case.
  • A Final Order resolves all of the remaining legal issues or questions that brought the parties into court.
  • A Final Order must be written, signed, and dated. 
  • A minute order may be a final order if it is signed and dated by the judicial officer. 
  • A transcript may only be a final order if it is signed and dated by the judicial officer. 

Steps to a Magistrate Review

Step 1 - Request More Time:

  • Why: You will need time to make your written arguments and to have the transcript created. 
  • Form: File a Motion for More Time to File into the District Court case. 
  • Due
    • Paternity or Child Support Enforcement Cases (JV in case number): 14 Days from the Final Order. 
    • All other cases where the final written orders were given in court: 14 Days from that date. 
    • All other cases where the final written orders were mailed: 21 days from the date the order was issued.
  • How Much Time: Ask for an additional 35-49 days to file. Let the Court know you would like more time to purchase a transcript to include with the Petition for Magistrate Review. 

Step 2 - Order a Transcript:

  • Why: Without a transcript, the Judge will have to assume that the information presented at the hearing supported the Magistrate's decision. Without a transcript now, the Court of Appeals will not be able to review a transcript later. 
  • Form: Transcript Request Form - JDF 4
  • Cost: A rough estimate is that a transcript will cost $150 per hour you were in court. The cost of a transcript cannot be waived. 

Step 3 - Arguments for Review:

  • Why: This is your opportunity to make your arguments. List the issues on appeal you want the Judge to review. Take each issue and discuss why the Magistrate's decision for that issue is unacceptable. If you seek a further appeal, the Court of Appeals will only be able to consider issues you discussed in this Petition.
  • Form: Petition for Magistrate Review
  • Due: The due date will be set by the court in an order after you file a Motion for More Time to File. If you do not request more time, then the Petition is due within 14 days of a final order. 

Step 4 - Opposition on Review:

  • Why: The arguments responding to the review. 
  • Form: Opposition to the Petition for Magistrate Review.
  • Due: Within 14 days from when the Petition is filed. 

Step 5 - Decision:

  • A Judge of the District Court will consider the written arguments and the Record on Appeal. They will review each Issue on Appeal raised in the petition and decide if there were any errors in the law, clearly wrong factual findings, or if there was an abuse of the deciding court's decision-making authority.
  • If you Disagree with the Judge's legal reasoning, you may appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals. Click on "Return to the previous page" at the top, and move on to Step 1: Decide and Prepare, for more information. 

Magistrate Review Checklist

Checklist uncompleted 1

Decide if a Magistrate Review is Needed

Checklist uncompleted 2

Motion for More Time to File a Petition

This motion must be filed within 14 days of a final order.

Checklist uncompleted 3

Transcript Request Form

Order and purchase the transcript.

Checklist uncompleted 4

Petition for Magistrate Review

If no extension is requested, this must be filed within 14 days of a final order.

Checklist uncompleted 5

Opposition to the Petition (Optional)

This response to the review is due within 14 days from when the Petition is filed.

Form Kit

This PDF Fillable kit contains the forms and instructions needed for a Magistrate Review. As you fill in an item of information, it will transfer through to the rest of the forms.

How to Get More Help

Appeals are hard. Click the Contact Options link below to get help. On that screen, go into the Sherlocks section to find self-help staff to answer your procedural or forms questions. Find a time to get legal information or advice in the clinic or events calendar sections. Or, find a free or moderate fee lawyer in the Find a Lawyer section.

Contact Options
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