Post-decree Multi-door Courthouse: a Pilot Program for the State

Publication year1998
27 Colo.Law. 109
Colorado Lawyer

1998, June, Pg. 109. Post-Decree Multi-Door Courthouse: A Pilot Program for the State


Vol. 27, No. 6, Pg. 109

The Colorado Lawyer
June 1998
Vol. 27, No. 6 [Page 109]

Specialty Law Columns
Alternative Dispute Resolution Column
Post-Decree Multi-Door Courthouse: A Pilot Program for the State
by Cynthia A. Savage

Colorado's first multi-door approach to post-decree domestic relations cases began operations in Denver District Court on March 24, 1998. On that date, the first case was referred to the first "door" to open in the program-door number one, which provides child support worksheet conferences with the help of volunteer attorneys through the Metro Volunteer Lawyers (formerly the Thursday Night Bar). Doors number two, three, and four will provide alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") settlement conferences with a senior judge, mediation with public or private sector mediators, and parenting coordination with subsidized or private parenting coordinators. The fifth door litigation, will be the door of choice for some disputes and backup for those unable to resolve through alternative approaches

This article describes in more detail this Second Judicial District Domestic Post-Decree Multi-Door Pilot Project ("Second J.D. Pilot Project"), which is intended for possible use as a model for other districts in the state as a method to increase the effective processing and resolution of these disputes

Multi-Door Courthouse Concept

The traditional courthouse offers to the public only one "door" for resolving disputes: the litigation process. The multi-door approach stems from the philosophy that not all disputes are suitable for litigation, and that courts should have a system for matching disputes to appropriate dispute resolution processes.1

In particular, this pilot project through the multi-door approach seeks the following goals: more effective use of the court's resources, cost and time savings to the court system and to disputants, increased satisfaction of disputants in terms of both process and outcome, increased collaboration and cooperation between the parties, decreased adversarial relations, increased closure for the parties, and increased quality of dispute outcomes.2

Multi-Door Courthouse In Colorado

Several years ago, the Colorado Judicial Branch sponsored what came to be known as the "Futures Project" to assess citizen needs and expectations of the courts in the year 2020. One of the project's recommendations was that the Colorado Judicial Branch develop and implement a multi-door courthouse project.3

The Colorado Judicial Branch first began formal implementation of the multi-door approach at the Arapahoe County Justice Center in the Eighteenth Judicial District ("J.D.") in December 1995.4 Since then, the Fourth J.D. (El Paso County) completed its multi-door courthouse with the addition of case screening in October 1997, and the Sixth J.D. (Durango) became the first rural district to implement a multi-door approach on January 1, 1998.5 The Second J.D. Pilot Project differs from earlier efforts in that it is the first court to focus its multi-door effort on developing a variety of alternative processes for post-decree domestic relations disputes.6

Second J.D. Pilot Project

Mandatory ADR for Designated Case Types

In the Second J.D. Pilot Project, the two Denver District Court magistrates, Pam...

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