Colorado Divorce Process
Divorce can be a lengthy and complex legal process. There is often a sense of urgency for the process to be over in order to be able to move on to a brighter future. However knowing and having a realistic assessment of the process up front can result in a calmer acceptance of delays.
Initiation: The process is initiated by the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage which states that the filing party would like a divorce and/or child custody order. The other party is served with the Petition and a Summons that requires a Response. The person served has to respond to the Petition within 21 days if in state and within 35 days if out of state.
Financial Disclosures: Next are financial disclosures where both parties provide a summary of income, expenses, assets and debt to the other party as well as copies of underlying documents. The information is needed to identify appropriate property settlement division and support orders.
Initial Status Conference: Next comes the Initial Status Conference where the Court identifies requirements and deadlines and determines whether one or the other party would like a temporary orders hearing. These are generally held with Family Court Facilitators, who are lawyers but not Judges. The proceeding must typically be held within 42 days from the date the Petition is filed. Deadlines are set for mediation and any need for a Child and Family Investigator is assessed at the conference.
Temporary Orders: A temporary orders hearing can be the mechanism to put orders in place for urgent matters such as child custody or financial support. The Court can also address the temporary payment of bills, spousal maintenance, and/or occupancy of the marital home, etc. The Temporary Orders Hearing is short and generally set for just one hour giving each party only 30 minutes to present the his or her entire case.
Mediation: Mediation is generally required and is a good opportunity for the Parties to attempt to reach an agreement outside of court if they have not done so through negotiation. A mediator is a neutral third party who attempts to promote compromise and agreement. If an agreement is reached on all or some of the issues, a Memorandum of Understanding is drafted and filed with the Court. If a global agreement is reached, the Parties can then incorporate the agreement into a formal Separation Agreement and/or Parenting Plan.
Negotiation: If the Parties reach an agreement after mediation, they can still submit their agreements to the Court and ask the Court to issue the agreement as an order. If the Parties do not have children or if both Parties are represented, then they may not have to appear in Court at all for the final orders to be issued. However if the parties have children and one or both do not have an attorney, then they will have to appear in court for a non contested hearing if the reach agreement on a parenting plan. Generally the Court will approve agreements reached between the parties, but not always. If the Court does not feel that the agreement is fundamentally fair, or if the Court does not understand the agreement, the Court will ask for clarification or set a hearing.
Trial: If the court does not approve an agreement or if the Parties cannot reach one, the case will proceed to trial. At the trial, each side will present evidence and arguments. The Judge will rule on the unresolved issues. The divorce process can continue for several months depending on the complexity and the level of cooperation or conflict between the Parties. The higher the level of cooperation the faster the progress and the lower the cost.Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
An attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters by negotiating, mediating and litigating. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on spending your time trying to figure out the overly complex court system. Colorado Springs Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. The court system is more complex than it should be. Change can be stressful, however it can lead to a better future. Janko Family Law helps ensure that your best interests are protected and that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations.
Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.