Domestic Relations Case Deadlines and Roadmap
There are numerous deadlines that occur throughout a domestic relations case. Deadlines exist so the courts can keep cases moving to ensure that they are resolved in a timely manner. There are consequences for missing deadlines up to and including sanctions and case dismissal. Each courthouse has a Self-Represented Litigant Coordinator who can provide information and assist with forms and deadlines. However, the Coordinator can not provide legal advice. You will want to map out the case deadlines and put them in your calendar. Allow ample time to meet deadlines as the case steps will take longer than you think. Organization is key. First it is necessary to understand the general case flow and then to calendar deadlines for all important steps.Roadmap to a dissolution case
Once you have determine the proper jurisdiction, it is important to understand how the case will flow so that you can set and track your deadlines. There are a predictable series of steps to a dissolution of marriage case. The process can be quite different for a post-decree case where a domestic relations court has already issued an initial order. For a pre-decree case where an order has not yet been issued, the process generally is:
- File the initiating documents, for example a Petition For Dissolution With or Without Children.
- Have the documents served on the other party.
- Prepare financial disclosures to include a sworn financial statement and a certificate of compliance that you have provided certain documents to the other party.
- Prepare a Separation Agreement and/or parenting Plan.
- If you have resolved all issues at this point, then you can ask the court for an uncontested hearing.
- If you have not resolved all issues, then you can ask the court to set a contested hearing.
As an aid to assist you with steps and deadlines, the Court will issue a Case Management Order which will provide you with steps and some deadlines. The Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (C.R.C.P.), govern case procedure and deadlines. You can also refer to this document. A few of the most important initial case deadlines to know are:
- A response to the Petition is due 21 days after service of the Petition if the responding party is in the same state, or 35 days if the responding party is in a different state.
- An Initial Status Conference must occur within 42 days from the filing of a Petition. If you are representing yourself, the Court will set this for you.
- Financial disclosures must be filed and exchanged within 42 says of the service of process. This consists of a Sworn Financial Statement (SFS) and a Certificate of Compliance (COC). A COC lists documents that you have provided to the other party. You file the SFS and COC with the court, however you do not file the financial documents. You just exchange them with the other party. The Court will let you know when to schedule mediation if you have not resolved all of the legal issues. There are several other deadlines that apply if you go to a contested proceeding, not addressed here.
A knowledgeable and experienced divorce and family law attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs divorce and family law matters by negotiating, mediating and litigating. Give yourself the benefit of hiring one. This allows you to focus on moving on to a better future instead of spending your time attempting to navigate complex legal rules and procedures.
Sabra Janko from Janko Family Law Solutions has more than 20 years of legal experience and protects your best interests. She ensures that you are aware of your legal rights and obligations. Contact us at 719-344-5523 for a free 30-minute informational consultation or complete our online form.