Overview of Colorado’s divorce process:
Colorado has what is called a facilitative divorce process. This means that the process allows parties who are not represented by attorneys to be guided through the divorce process by court facilitators, magistrates and judges. The process begins by paying the filing fee and filing at least two documents, 1 – the Case Information Sheet and 2 – the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
Shortly after beginning the process, whichever party elects to be the Petitioner will receive a Case Management Order. The Case Management Order will instruct the Petitioner to do a number of things including providing a copy of the Case Management Order to the Co-petitioner/Respondent. The Case Management Order will also either include the date of the Initial Status Conference or order that the Petitioner call the court to obtain an Initial Status Conference date. The Petitioner is required to notify the other party of the date of the Initial Status Conference.
Each party is required to complete a Sworn Financial Statement, a Certificate of Disclosure (certifying that the parties have exchanged certain financial records) and, if there are children of the marriage under age 19, a parenting class for which you will be given a certificate to file with the court. These documents are expected to be filed with the court prior to the Initial Status Conference.
At the Initial Status Conference a court facilitator, Magistrate or (rarely) Judge will give the parties an overview of the rest of the process. No contested Permanent Orders hearing will be scheduled until the parties attempt mediation.
The goal of mediation is to attempt to resolve all the issues between the parties via a facilitated agreement. If full agreements are reached the Parties are required to write up the agreements into two documents, the Separation Agreement and Parenting Plan (if there are children under age 19). Once those are filed with the court, the court will schedule a Non-contested Permanent Orders hearing to approve the documents and, if approved, enter a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and, if necessary, a Support Order.
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