This is indeed a difficult place in which you find yourself and your children. It sounds like your wife has been able to pull woool over the eyes of folks, but your remedies may be limited. Every day that passes is another day the clock is ticking on your right to either seek reconsideration of the orders, a review of the magistrate's orders (by a District Court if you are in Denver), or an appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals. Understand that in very rare cases, if you indeed file an appeal, there is a set of rules that govern such actions and they are not easily followed.
I do not know the facts of your case. In Colorado, CFIs get appointed to make non-binding recommendations to the court with respect to the allocation of parental responsibilities. I find it intriguing that your wife was able to convince a judge that a CFI was less than honest. That is a very, very rare case.
If you had counsel at the time of your relocation hearing, speak with him or her immeidately about an appeal (or other reviews of the orders). if you didn't, you need to consult imemdiately.
Best of luck.
These are tough cases. I'm assuming that you went through the proceeding without an attorney representing you. So, you can appeal, but the likelihood of that succeeding is quite small, unless the judge made comments on the record about rejecting evidence, or that he was making decisions based upon considerations other than those he should have been using. It happens.
If the judge made no errors, then an appeal is probably not a good investment. Instead, I think you should sit down with an experienced attorney and discuss how to make sure the kids are safe, and that the current orders do not create greater harm. At the same time, the attorney can help you learn how to document the facts you are going to need to make a change in the future. Unlike child support, the issues of parenting time can be addressed whenever there is a problem that is significant. Here your ex is likely to think she won it all and behave badly, thinking she has no one watching.
Like many attorneys we will sit down and review your situation with you without charge.
Your best bet is to find a good lawyer who provides advice on this kind of issue on a regular basis and review your specific facts; the lawyer will be able to give you an analysis of the law and your options.
By the way, some attorneys sell "unbundled" or "limited" legal services where you pay for just what you need and can afford. For example, some attorneys will prepare letters for you to sign, legal documents, or sell the paperwork for the court filings; then you can proceed on your own, but knowing that your paperwork is correct and having a road map as to how to proceed. Or who will attend a hearing for a flat fee even if they are not handling the whole case. Neighborhood Law Office is such a firm.
At Neighborhood Law Office we never charge for an initial consultation, and at that meeting we can go through your specific facts and give you options. Please call us anytime for an appointment.
Neighborhood Law Office
7225 E. Hampden Ave.
Denver, CO 80224
This answer is based upon a partial understanding of the facts and may not be relied upon as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship between the writer and the attorney. It is provided for general information. You should always consult an attorney about your important legal rights.
NOTICEâ€” This answer is based upon a partial understanding of the facts and may not be relied upon as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client relationship between the writer and the attorney. It is provided for general information. You should always consult an attorney about your important legal rights.
Unfortunately, there are time restrictions on appealing a decision like this, so it is very important to move forward immediately if you intend to appeal. I would strongly recommend hiring an attorney to help you with any sort of appeal. Upon a review of the transcript, an attorney should be able to help you decide on the best course of action, be it appealing the matter, a motion for Judicial review (if a magistrate decided your case), or some sort of post judgment motion.
I think the most difficult thing that we, as family law attorneys, see is when a party chooses to lie in Court in order to sway a Judge's decision. Depending on what your ex lied about, it may be possible to prove that she lied, and if you could then you may be successful in some type of appeal. However, if the Judge found your ex more credible, and ruled in her favor for this reason, then there may be an issue as to why they did not find you credible. Also, is it possible that they did not believe your ex's allegations but ruled in her favor because you did not meet your burden regarding your case? Sometimes people feel that Judge or magistrate ruled against them because of facts, but it is possible that under the law, they could not make a different determination. Again, for this reason, I strongly suggest that you have an attorney review your case with you as soon as possible to see if there is a good chance of winning on an appeal or a post judgment motion, and again, time is of the essence in matters of appeal, so if you choose to move forward, you need to do so immediately.
Kathlyn Bullis, Esq.
Legal disclaimer: Answering this question does not establish an attorney client relationship. This answer is for educational purposes only. You should consult an attorney in your state for your circumstances.