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General Divorce Information
Colorado Divorce Process
The steps to filing for divorce in Colorado are dependent upon the inclusion of minor children in the marriage. If children are not involved, the divorce process is routinely uniform. If children are involved, the steps to file for divorce in Colorado require further instruction and additional forms.
Divorce & Custody Issues
Tom is a strong family man and he takes great pride in working with others who are committed to the health, welfare, and future of their loved ones. In a perfect world, families stay together forever, but we don’t live in a perfect world. As strange as it may sound, sometimes divorce is the wisest course of action for husbands and wives who want what is ultimately best for those closest to them. When the family unit no longer serves the best interests of its members, tough choices may be necessary. Tom can help you understand all of the options available to you, advise you on the most prudent course of action relative to your goals, and navigate you through the often harsh and confusing legal system. Whether he is helping you iron out minor divorce issues, assisting you with the difficult prospect of divorce, or battling against a serious attack on your family and your life, Tom is dedicated to helping you find divorce solutions with care and compassion. Tom doesn’t ignore the personalities, emotions, expectations and fears that are involved in every marriage dissolution case. You can only get a divorce in Colorado by going through the courts to legally dissolve your marriage. The divorce process varies depending on whether you have minor children in the marriage or not. Obtaining a divorce can be confusing and every divorce situation is different. However, the steps of divorce routinely follows a specific process.
Types of Petitions in Divorce Law
- DOM: A “Dissolution of Marriage” is the term Colorado law and courts use to mean “divorce”.
- APR: “Allocation of Parental Responsibility” Similarly, when there is no marriage, but a child or children of relationship, custody is called APR under Colorado law.
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Legal Separation With or Without Children
This is the first step in obtaining child custody orders outlining parenting time, child support and all issues surrounding the children born of a relationship, without a marriage. Similar to a dissolution of marriage petition, all parties can file as co-petitioners or one party will initiate and be known as the Petitioner while the other party is the Respondent. One party will file with the court. It is important to consult with a divorce attorney in Colorado to better understand the process of divorce in Colorado.
Petition for Parental Responsibility
While most states carry a “one-bite rule”, in which the dog’s owner is not held liable for a bite so long as the dog has never bitten or shown aggressive tendencies before, the state of California classifies dog bites under “Strict Liability”. This means that regardless of the dog’s previous behavior, the owner is liable for any injury it might cause.
To start a divorce case, the following documents must be completed and filed with the courts by one party:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
- Case Information Sheet
- Summons to serve the other party if you are not filing the case together
There is a filing fee to file for divorce in Colorado. You will have to go to court for at least one initial appearance called a status conference. Depending on how complicated the divorce case is and how many key issues the spouses agree on, you may have other more formal court hearings in front of a judge.
Service of Process
The spouse who files the initial petition must provide proper documentation, the service of process, proving that their partner has been notified of the pending divorce. If the parties are amicable, the responding party can sign a waiver of service and avoid having to be served.
Response of Divorce Service
Once the divorce papers have been served, the court requires a response from the other party. Any property or child custody disputes need to be outlined in this document.
- Seek legal advice from a divorce lawyer to find out exactly what your rights and responsibilities are.
- DO NOT ignore your divorce! If you don’t at least respond to being “served paperwork”, the court has the right to make decisions for you without your input. If you live far away you can still participate in your case by asking the court for permission to appear at divorce hearings over the phone.
- If you feel safe communicating with your spouse, you should try to work out how you’re going to divide the property and debts of your marriage in the divorce. If you have minor children, you and your spouse should try to work out how you’re going to provide for and spend time with them after your divorce. The court can make these decisions for you, but it is usually better to try to work out as many of these issues on your own since you and your spouse know your situation and family better than the judge will.
- If your spouse has hired a divorce attorney, it is best to communicate through the attorney.
- If you don’t feel safe communicating with your spouse because of domestic violence in your relationship, seek legal advice from a divorce lawyer immediately.
Temporary Divorce Orders
Colorado divorce laws allow separated spouses to formalize their temporary living and parenting arrangements, structure their expense and debt sharing, and support obligations by agreement. Such formal agreements may be submitted by stipulation to the Colorado court for issuance of so-called “Temporary Orders.” If the parties cannot agree on how to maintain the status quo, the courts will conduct a temporary orders hearing and issue interim orders resolving financial and support issues on a temporary basis during the process of divorce.
If there are any disputes between the divorcing parties these can be settled, or attempted to be settled, during the negotiation phase. Almost all Colorado counties do require divorce mediation before any contested court hearing. Of course, there are great advantages to mediating early in the process, before parties’ positions harden and workable options are foreclosed. Divorcing parties and couples with parenting issues generally are more motivated when they self-refer themselves to mediation as well. The divorce mediation process can allow divorcing parties to discuss and attain their vision of a fair approach to divorce or co-parenting, which may result in a memorialized vision in a durable binding agreement, to be entered as a Court Order.
Permanent Orders Hearing
Permanent Orders hearing is the final hearing in the divorce or parental responsibility action. Some counties refer to the Permanent Orders hearing as the “Final Orders” hearing. If necessary, there could be a hearing to settle any disputes not resolved during the divorce mediation. Hearings typically cost both parties more money in the long run, since you have to pay your lawyer for more time, and the court’s rulings could be very different than expected.
Order of Marriage Dissolution
At the conclusion of a permanent orders hearing, the court will issue the Decree dissolving the marriage and/or issue custody orders. This is the final order that officially ends the divorce or custody dispute. (Any necessary information about child custody, property, debts, spousal support, etc., will be denoted in this document). Tom firmly believes that not all divorces have to be contentious. In a recent interview about how he achieves such successful outcomes in his divorce cases, Tom stated, “My goal is not to stick my nose in these divorces and muck them up. I will help keep things as simple as possible for those who are able to be reasonable and civilized with each other.” Tom is ready to navigate you through the many stages of separation and divorce, from the initial stage of deciding to end a marriage to the closing stage of obtaining final orders. With Tom as your divorce attorney, you have a wise and strong advocate by your side. During this difficult time, Tom’s help can make all the difference. We handle all family law matters including:
- Divorce & Separation
- No Fault Divorce
- Child Custody & Child Support
- Child Visitation
- Division of Finances & Property
- Support, Alimony & Maintenance
- Restraining Orders and Protection Orders
- Post-Decree Modifications
- Grandparent Rights
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