June 2020 | 2020 COA 95 (Co. Ct. App. 2020)

People in Interest of S.C.

The section of Colorado statute which adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) gives parties the right to testify by phone. The state of Missouri asked the state of Colorado to establish paternity with respect to the minor child. The father lived in Colorado. The mother had an outstanding warrant for her arrest in Colorado. She declined to appear at the proceeding in person. The magistrate refused to hear telephone testimony and entered an order closing the case. The district court affirmed the order. The child support agency appealed. The appellate court issued an order to show case ordering the child support agency to show the order was a final, appealable order. The motions division of the appellate court found the order final for appellate purposes under the circumstances of the case. The appellate court reversed the order closing the case. First, the court determined it had jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The order closing the case effectively ended the proceeding, making the order appealable. Then, the appellate court found the trial court had no legal authority to deny the Mother’s request to appear by phone. The applicable statute specifically provided for telephone testimony regardless of the reason. The court acknowledged this requirement makes sense in light of the intergovernmental nature of the case and the interests in establishing paternity and support.

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