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In re Parental Responsibilities Concerning J.H.

2021 COA 94. No. 20CA0478.  Paternity—CRS § 19-1-108—Appellate Jurisdiction.

July 8, 2021

C.D. filed a petition for paternity asking the court to adjudicate him the child’s father. Following a hearing, a magistrate adjudicated B.D. as the child’s father.

C.D. filed a direct appeal to the Court of Appeals. CRS § 19-1-108(5.5) of the Children’s Code governs prerequisites for an appeal of a paternity petition and provides that a party wishing to appeal a magistrate’s order must file a petition for review to the district court within 14 days of the magistrate’s order. Here, the district court did not review the magistrate’s order. Therefore, the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction to review the magistrate’s order.

C.D. argued alternatively that the unique circumstances doctrine should apply. That exception applies when a party acts in reasonable reliance upon an erroneous or misleading trial court statement or ruling. However, the Court found no cases where this doctrine was invoked to confer jurisdiction over an appeal on a court that lacked it.

The appeal was dismissed without prejudice to either party’s right to appeal following disposition of a petition for review of the magistrate’s order to the district court.

Official Colorado Court of Appeals proceedings can be found at the Colorado Court of Appeals website.

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