The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Denver’s award-winning family law trial advocates. We’re experts in DIVORCE AND CHILD CUSTODY PROCEDURES in cases in Denver and other cities throughout Colorado. Call us today to talk personally with a lawyer about with your DENVER DIVORCE AND CHILD CUSTODY PROCEDURES issues. (303) 502-9600.
Following is a road map for most Colorado divorce and child custody cases.
Contact us at the Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers if you have specific questions about deadlines and procedures in your Colorado divorce or child custody case. (303) 502-9600.
- File the Petition for Dissolution or Legal Separation. A divorce or legal separation case is commenced by filing a petition for divorce or legal separation in the district court of the county in which the Petitioner or the Respondent lives. The Petitioner must have resided in Colorado for 91 days prior to filing the petition.
- Serve the Petition. The respondent must be personally served with a copy of the Petition or must sign a waiver of service. The respondent then has 21 days (35 if he or she lives out of state) to file a response. Once the Respondent is served or signs a waiver of service, a temporary protection order goes into effect preventing the parties from harassing each other, taking children out of state or disposing of joint assets. The 91 day “cooling off” period also begins. The Court cannot issue a final divorce decree until that period expires.
- Case Management Order. Once the Petition is filed, the clerk of the court will issued a case management order (CMO) setting forth the basic deadlines and requirements to obtain a divorce. The CMO is commonly issued even before the Respondent is served and usually specifies the date and time of the initial status conference.
- Initial Status Conference. The initial status conference (ISC) is a brief meeting, held before the court or before a family court facilitator at the courthouse. The ISC is used for establishing deadlines for exchanging financial information and records, mediation (if any), and parenting classes. Either party may request emergency orders or a temporary orders hearing, if appropriate, to address temporary custody or financial issues.
- Exchange financial documents. The parties must exchange certain financial information and documents within 42 of the date the Respondent is served or signs a waiver of service. The documents to be disclosed include federal and state tax forms for the past three years, bank statements, and paycheck stubs. Each party must also sign and file a Sworn Financial Statement on the court-approved form.
- Parenting Class. Parties with children under 17 must attend one of the court-approved parenting classes. The classes are half-day and the parties attend separate classes. Each party must file a copy of the certificate of attendance at the class or the court will not issue a divorce decree.
- Temporary orders hearing. Due to the statutory 91-day waiting period and other factors, the court will not immediately issue a divorce decree. Temporary orders hearings are commonly held to establish a temporary parenting time plan and to consider requests for temporary child support and/or spousal support (maintenance).
- Settlement / Mediation. Virtually all Colorado divorce courts will order the parties to mediate prior to setting a permanent orders hearing. Mediation is non-binding dispute resolution. If it is not court-ordered, the parties may also voluntarily agree to mediate. By mediating, the Parties can often avoid the stress and cost of a permanent orders hearing.
- Permanent orders hearing. The permanent orders hearing (POH) is the final hearing in a divorce or child custody case. These hearings are usually scheduled for a half-day, but complicated cases may take multiple days. The POH is a mini-trial. Witnesses are called to testify under oath and exhibits are presented for admission into evidence. The attorneys usually make opening and/or closing arguments highlighting the facts and law supporting their client’s positions. The parties will become legally divorced at the POH, although courts do not always issue final orders as to property division and custody issues at the POH.
The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Colorado DIVORCE PROCEDURES LAWYERS. Call us now to discuss your legal options and rights concerning DIVORCE AND CHILD CUSTODY PROCEDURES in Denver, Colorado and surrounding cities (303) 502-9600.