Dissolution and Family Law Deadlines
Meeting deadlines is critical in court proceedings as a failure to meet a deadline can result in case dismissal. There is only one bite at the litigation apple absent extenuating circumstances, such as fraud or newly discovered evidence. Here are some common deadlines of which to be aware in domestic relations cases.Filing and Service
The other party can be served with the petition and summons prior to the case being filed with the court, however usually the documents are filed first. If service occurs first, then the filing party has 14 days to file the initiating documents or the respondent can object to the action and request case dismissal and an award of attorney fees against the serving party.Petition Response
A respondent has 21 days to file a petition response with the court and to pay the filing fee or apply for a waiver of the filing fee after being served with the petition. An out-of-state respondent has 35 days to file a petition response with filing fee or request for fee waiver after service. Although a court can issue a default judgment in the absence of a response, courts generally will provide a respondent with additional time to respond as courts encourage the participation of both parties.Motion Response
A response must be filed within 21 days of the date of the motion. Failure to file a response to a motion may result in the requested action being granted without a hearing. The party filing a motion may also file a reply to the response within seven days of receipt of a response. Failing to respond can result in a matter being decided without the input of both parties. It is important to respond to a motion in order to ensure that your position is represented.Financial Disclosures
In Colorado divorce, child support, or allocation of parental responsibilities cases, the parties are required to exchange financial disclosures. Information regarding income, assets, debt, and expenses must be provided through the filing of a sworn financial statement and exchange of specified financial documents. Disclosures are due 42 days from the date of service of a petition or post-decree motion, though courts like to have them filed prior to an initial status conference (ISC) if the conference occurs less than 42 days after service.Witness Disclosure
Lay and expert witnesses must be disclosed 63 days prior to hearing. The purpose of the timeline is so that both parties have a chance to prepare for hearing, to include cross-examination. Expert witness reports must be provided 56 days prior to hearing. Failure to timely disclose witnesses can lead to potential preclusion of that witness testimony.Court Proceedings
The first court event is often an initial status conference. The ISC is often conducted with a family court facilitator, who is an attorney though not a Judge. The conference is designed for the court and parties to determine what issues are contested and set forth timeframes for proceeding. The initial status conference must be held within 42 days of the case being filed.Janko Law - Is it Time For a Change?
Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. The court system is more complex than it should be. With offices in Colorado Springs and Denver, we can guide you through the experience by handling pleading and motion preparation and filing, negotiation, mediation, and court proceedings from start to finish. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on trying to figure out how the overly complex court system works. Remember that change often creates new opportunity and a better future. Janko Law can help ensure that your best interests and the best interests of your family are protected. Contact us at 720-780-0115 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.