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  • Writer's pictureBrian R Boney

Your emergency is not the court's

Updated: May 26, 2023

You must be patient when engaging in litigation because it won't end anytime soon.

You may think you have an emergency legal situation, but chances are no court will see it that way.

I have been dealing with several cases and clients where the courts – “the system” – is not giving them justice quickly enough. This is because the court system is designed to move glacially, allowing no surprises. Add to this that most counties have not hired enough judges and the term “swift justice” is an oxymoron.

Eric has needs to modify his child support, get his engagement ring back, and have a hearing to expand his custody. He wants it all done now! Unfortunately, he’s going to have to wait for all of it.

Under the Colorado rules of procedure, even before you file a motion, you must first “meet and confer” with the other side to attempt to resolve your dispute. This typically means giving the other side three days to get back to you as to whether they object to the relief you’re requesting. You must file a certificate with your motion that states you have done just that. If you don’t, your judge will kick back your motion before ever reading it. Once filed, the other side has 21 days to respond with their pleading arguing their side of the issue. Then you have another seven days to reply to whatever was in that response. This means that a month normally will go by from the time you file a pleading to when a judge (or usually the judge’s law clerks) will read everything – not make a decision, just read what the dispute is all about. So that is want Eric is facing, at best.

After that, the judge might want additional legal research and argument about the issues. The judge might want a conference with the parties to get additional information. The judge will almost certainly order the parties into mediation, and that takes at least six weeks to find a spot on a mediator’s calendar. Then there’s the matter of the hearing on the actual dispute. In Eric’s case where he is pushing to expand his parenting time with his son, the earliest my office could schedule that hearing was five months away.

Understandably, Eric is very frustrated. He wants to see his kids more and he wants his engagement ring back to pay for their needs, yet he’s likely to have to wait five months for any of this to happen. And there is nothing I, or any attorney, can do about it.

This means you must prepare yourself to be patient before engaging in the legal process because it’s unlikely you reach any resolution anytime soon.

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