Domestic Relations Case Start
The court system may sometimes feel like a mystery. Information required to understand the process can not be found in just one place. Yet, there is an established process that must be followed. A domestic relations case begins with filing a Petition, a Summons and a Case Information Sheet. Then the documents must be provided to the other party through service of process.
Generally, the documents are filed and then served, however service can occur first, in which case the documents must then be filed with the Court within 14 days. The later sequence sometimes occurs when difficulties are expected with service of process, such as when the filing party does not know where the other party lives.Petition
The Petition is a formal written request for the court to take a specific action, such as grant a divorce/dissolution. The person filing the Petition is the Petitioner. A Petition for a Dissolution of Marriage contains the following information:
- A statement that the marriage is irretrievably broken;
- Identification of where each party lives and the length of residency;
- The date and place of the marriage or civil union;
- The separation date;
- Names and ages of any children; and
- The requested remedy.
The remedy can range from the granting of the divorce to a determination of child custody and support or a decision as to relocation of children, among others. The Court must be informed of public benefits received and any protection orders in place.The Summons
The Summons provides notice to the other party of the case. It requires the other party to answer the Petition and provides notice that a default judgment may occur if there is no Response. A default judgment occurs when only one party attends a hearing and only that party’s position is heard. The summons must contain:
- The name of the court;
- The county;
- The name of the parties;
- Notice of the possibility of a default hearing if no response is received;
- The response timeframe
- 21 days if process is served in state
- 35 days if process is served out of state
The filing party must provide a copy of the court documents to the other party through a documented formal process. Service of process is a constitutional due process protection to ensure that those named in court proceedings are informed of them. There are specific procedures governing service. Service is generally accomplished by a private process server or the Sheriff. Private process serves are more expensive, however generally faster.
After service is accomplished, the server prepares an Affidavit of Service which the filing party files with the Court as proof that the responding party has been notified. As an alternative, the Respondent can sign a waiver of service, which is then filed with the court. A waiver often occurs when both parties agree to have the action heard by the court. Personal service is required for initial filings and contempt of court motions, however subsequent documents may be sent by mail.Response
The Response must be filed within 21 days of service if the Petition is served in Colorado and within 35 days if service occurs outside of Colorado. The responding party admits or denies the information in the Petition and may request separate remedies.Automatic Temporary Injunction
When a Petition is filed, an automatic temporary injunction goes into place until a decree is entered as to the filer. The injunction goes into place as to the responding party when the filed documents are served on that party. The automatic temporary injunction requires that:
- Neither party can transfer, encumber, conceal, or dispose of any marital property without the consent of the other party or a court order, except as was customary during the marriage or for necessities;
- Preventing both parties from disturbing the peace of the other party;
- Preventing both parties from removing children of the marriage from the state without the consent of the other parent or a court order; and
- Preventing both parties, without the consent of the other party or a court order, from canceling, modifying, terminating, or allowing a lapse of marital insurance policies such as health, homeowner’s or renter’s, vehicle or life.
The injunction requires each party to notify the other of any proposed atypical expenses and to account for all such expenses made after the injunction takes effect. Additionally, a party must have the consent of the other before transferring or disposing of an asset.Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
An attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs matters involving child representation 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.