Divorce Procedures in Colorado
A proceeding for divorce begins with the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with or without Children. The distinction for “With” or “Without” children must be made on the cover of the Petition for Dissolution. The Petition is the catalyst for the divorce proceeding.
Once the Petition has been filed, the other party, or Respondent, is served with the Petition for Dissolution. Once they have been served with the Petition, the Respondent must “Respond” to the Petition within thirty days of service of Petition. The “Response” merely answers each paragraph of the Petition for Dissolution by either admitting or denying the allegations of each paragraph.
After service of the Petition, either party may file a Notice to Set Initial Status Conference with the court. On the date set forth on the Notice to Set, the initiating party will then telephone the court and obtain a date for the Initial Status Conference. Notice of that date will be mailed to the other party or his/her counsel of record.
Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney
The Initial Status Conference is merely a court date wherein the court sets deadlines. The deadlines will include deadline to exchange financial information, appoint financial experts, child and family investigators (CFI), or any other experts that may be necessary to divide the property. The court will also set a Temporary Orders Hearing date, deadline to complete parenting class, and a 90 day review date.
The next step in the process is a settlement conference. The parties are required to conduct a “good faith” settlement conference prior to the Temporary Orders Hearing. As Temporary Orders Hearings are only one (1) hour in length, parties are encouraged to resolve their issues at the settlement conference as the court will not have enough time to hear all issues in dispute. Parties are also reminded that the settlement conference is, generally, only to resolve temporary issues. This will include parenting time, household expenses and usually, only a slight division of marital debts. Sometimes, the parties are able to resolve all of their issues at the settlement conference, alleviating the need for additional mediation or hearings. If the parties are able to agree at the settlement conference, a Stipulated Temporary Orders Agreement is filed with the court and the Temporary Orders Hearing date is vacated. If the parties cannot agree, the Temporary Orders Hearing is conducted.
After conclusion of the Temporary Orders Hearing and/or Settlement Conference, as the case may be, the parties move into the discovery phase of the litigation. At this point in time, the parties may exchange written interrogatories or request for production of documents. This discovery can be useful in litigation of the claim.
Prior to the ninety (90) day deadline, the parties must decide whether they can resolve their issues amicably or whether they will require judicial intervention. If they can resolve all issues amicably, a Stipulated Final Orders Agreement can be prepared and filed with the court. However, if the parties continue to dispute the issues, one party may file a Notice to Set Contested Final Orders Hearing. On the date of the Notice, the initiating party will telephone the court and obtain a Final Orders Hearing date. Now the parties are set for Final Orders.
Prior to any Final Order Hearing, the parties are required to undergo a mediation. Mediations can be conducted at the courthouse through the Office of Dispute Resolution. The parties are then required to undergo a “good faith” mediation in an attempt to resolve all issues in dispute. If the mediation fails, the parties will move forward to the Final Orders Hearing.
At the conclusion of the Final Orders Hearing, a Decree of Dissolution will be entered into the record, forever dissolving the marriage. The Court will also make determinations as to division of property and assets, division of debts, parenting time and decision making authority. One party will be required to prepare the paperwork. Once the court signs all of the paperwork, the parties will be divorced and visitation plan in place for the parties to abide.
Always keep in mind that the parties must prove the marriage is irretrievably broken and that one of the parties has resided in Colorado for at least ninety (90) days prior to the filing of the Petition for Dissolution and at least ninety (90) days prior to the entry of final decree of divorce.
To set up a FREE initial consultation with our office to discuss your case, you can call our Colorado Springs Divorce Lawyers at (866) 204-6973 or complete our contact form.