I filed a motion to modify child support back in September. My ex retained counsel a few days ago, and 2 days before the hearing (this friday), a continuance has been filed. I'm now learning I'm in violation of CRCP 16.2, and I'm at a loss. Why am I governed by this, and she isn't? How do I satisfy this, so I can get to a hearing date? How many times can a hearing be continued?
You are both governed by rule 16.2 and it should be taken seriously. Your lack of compliance can be used against you in court. To satisfy your 16.2 disclosure requirements, you need to turn over the required documents and information to the other side. More information in that can be found on the Colorado courts website (Form 35.1). The number of times a hearing can be continued is in the judge’s discretion.
I’d strongly suggest you contact a family law attorney to help you with these important issues. Luckily many offer free consultations Good luck with your case.
You can reach Meagan at (303) 539-4355 or [email protected] Meagan is a family law attorney practicing in several Colorado jurisdictions. Answering your questions does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts in your case, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to respond any further, but will probably be happy to do so. Good luck with your case.
As noted, you are BOTH subject to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure and if you are representing yourself then you are your attorney and have a duty to learn and follow the same rules an attorney would follow.
The reason the judge was more concerned with your compliance than your ex's is that it's YOUR motion. If you cannot prove that there has been a substantial and continuing change of circumstances that justifies the change you are requesting, then your motion will be denied. If both of you fail to follow the rules, then both of you could be barred from presenting any information that should have been disclosed, but was not. This will hurt you far more than your ex because the result if nobody is allowed to present any evidence is that your motion will be dismissed. It's your motion and you have the burden of proof.
Although your ex is subject to the same rules, until you get your act together your ex really doesn't have to do anything because if you both fail to disclose the motion will fail and the Court's orders will stay the way they are.
You can review the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure at any Colorado library or online. There are forms on the Colorado Judicial Branch website that will help you put your disclosures in the right format. However, if you are representing yourself you have a lot to figure out if you want to succeed in litigation. In addition to the Rules of Civil Procedure, you will want to review the standards for child support modification under Title 14 and you should review the Colorado Rules of Evidence so that you can make sure you can get the evidence you need to support your motion presented at trial. This is why it would be a good idea to work with an experienced attorney if this motion is important to you.
The judge can continue the hearing as often as she is willing to. Eventually she will refuse to continue the case and the motion will have to be handled even if there is no admissible evidence to be presented in support. A continuance is a good thing for you at this point because if the judge had not continued the hearing you would have been barred from presenting any evidence that was not properly disclosed and your motion would have been dismissed. Then you would have to start over from scratch and you would have lost the ability to modify any child support that came due since September.
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