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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Colorado Courts: Justice (& Divorce Resolutions) Delayed

long delays await Colorado divorce & family court visitorsRecent news articles have detailed how Colorado divorce and family courts are straining under the pressures of continued reductions in court staff, hours and services.

Longmont, Colorado's Daily Times-Call quotes Colorado State Court Administrator (and former Pueblo, Colorado District Court Judge) Jerry Marroney as decrying the rapid deterioration of court access and case processing for Coloradoans and their families:
[W]e can [continue to] slam people and ... treat them like cattle and ... give them 15-minute hearings when they deserve an hour,” Marroney said, “or we can get to a quality scenario.”

The Longmont news article reports that Colorado court observers believe proper staffing for timely services, including processing of divorce and family law cases, requires an enormous infusion of additional funding for new judges and court staff – funding that is likely not forthcoming.

In a second news article, Justice May Be Blind, But It Also Can Be Rented In a Pinch, the Denver Post discusses how one Colorado divorce couple sought out alternative dispute resolution (in their case, using an arbitrator), given Arapahoe County, Colorado courts' being “clogged with enormous backlogs,” and detailed the hardship on another Douglas County, Colorado mother, waiting since May for a Colorado child support law ruling.

Indeed, the Denver Post's subsequent editorial (Justice Delayed: Justice Denied) called for an effective legislative response.

As we noted in our divorce law news article on Colorado court delays of last year, mediation clients often
are able to accelerate the divorce process, and move forward with their lives. Unlike parties awaiting a contested hearing before Colorado divorce and family courts, these families and their futures are not placed "on hold" for long periods of time.

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