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The Divorce Process

The Divorce Process: The divorce/legal separation process may appear confusing especially when you aren’t familiar with the terms presented. Below is a brief outline of the process, and an explanation about each of the forms. You can also find an instruction sheet on the court’s website at https://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=108

  1. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
    1. The petition and the case information sheet lets the court know what you want: a divorce and who is involved: you, your spouse, and any shared children. These are forms JDF 1101 and JDF 1000
    2. If you’re going to file jointly (both people sign the Petition), then that’s all you need to begin the divorce. SKIP STEP 2.
    3. If only one person is filing, you also need to fill out the summons. If you’re not represented by an attorney you need to file these three documents with the court before you serve the other party because the court clerk will need to sign the summons for you.
  1. Serve the other Party
    1. The other party needs to know that the petition was filed and be given the opportunity to participate in the case. You must serve them with the Petition, Case information sheet AND the Summons signed by the court. There are two ways to serve the other party:
      1. A waiver a service. You can deliver the petition and other initiating documents to the other party and ask that they sign a “waiver of service” this will say that they received the documents and are aware of the case. (JDF 1102A)
      2. Personal Service. Send a sheriff’s deputy, a private process server, or a person over the age of 18 not related to the case to hand the petition and other initiating documents to the other party. They will then tell the court through an “affidavit of service” that the other party received the documents and therefore knows about the case. (JDF 1102B)
  1. Response.
    1. If you filed a joint petition, no response is needed.
    2. If you served the other party, they should respond and tell the court what they want. If they don’t respond, you can still proceed. Colorado is a no fault divorce state. Even if the other party says they don’t agree to a divorce, you can get a divorce. A response is form JDF 1103.
  2. Financial Disclosures.
    1. The court needs to know all the income you have, the value of all assets, and the amount of every debt. You will list everything in your Sworn Financial Statement and provide documentation to the other party including documents like account statements, pay stubs, taxes, etc. You need to fill in JDF 1111 and JDF 1111SS and provide any documents you have as listed in JDF 1104. You provide JDF 1111, JDF 1111SS and JDF 1104 to the court and the opposing party, but you only provide the supporting documents to the other party, not to the court.
  1. Parenting Class.
    1. If you have children with the other party, you both need to complete a parenting class at the outset of the case. Information will be provided to you in your case management order. It’s usually the last page, or second to last page of that multiple page order.
  1. Initial Status Conference.
    1. The Court will check in with each party to make sure the financial disclosures have been done, the parenting classes have been done, if necessary, if any experts are necessary to opine regarding a party’s ability to earn income, and the value of any assets or businesses, or regarding the best interests of the children, if necessary. The Court will give the parties deadlines to complete the financial disclosures and parenting class if not yet complete and will issue deadlines by which to decide on experts and to complete mediation. The Court may ask if temporary orders are necessary.
  1. Temporary Orders.
    1. You may need temporary orders for the Court to issue orders regarding temporary support, use of property, payment of debts, payment of attorney’s fees, and parenting time and decision-making authority if there are children if you and the other party cannot come to an agreement on these issues. To request temporary orders you file JDF 1106.
  1. Mediation.
    1. You and the other party will need to attend mediation prior to a final hearing in your case to see if you two can come to an agreement regarding the division of assets and debts, spousal support, and parenting time, decision-making, and child support if there are children. State Judicial providers lower cost mediators, and if you qualify, the fees may be waived. You can get information at https://www.courts.state.co.us/Administration/Unit.cfm?Unit=odr
    2. Private attorneys and trained mediators also provide mediation services.
  1. Parenting Plan and Separation Agreement.
    1. If you and the other party agree as to all issues you will need to write down these down for the court. Agreements regarding Financial Issues like the division of assets and debts and spousal support go into the Separation Agreement. (JDF 1115) Agreements regarding the children including parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, and child support go into the parenting plan. (JDF 1113)
  1. Pretrial Conference.
    1. If you and the other party cannot agree on all issues, you will need to prepare for a hearing. To get ready you will need to provide the other party and the court with a list of your witnesses, your exhibits, and what you want and why in a position statement. The Court will make sure you are ready for the permanent orders hearing at the pretrial conference. (JDF 1129)
  1. Permanent Orders.
    1. If you and the other party cannot agree, the Court will make orders after reviewing evidence through exhibits such as paystubs, account statements, appraisals, and testimony from witnesses like you, the other party, experts, and others regarding the division of assets and debts, spousal support, and parenting time, decision-making, and child support if there are children. You will want to provide the court a copy of a decree with the case heading filled in. (JDF 1116) and if support will be ordered, a support order with the caption (case heading) filled in. (JDF 1117)

We at Jorgensen, Brownell and Pepin, PC understand that this can be confusing and emotional and are here to help. We can represent you in court and complete all of the documents for you, or provide you legal information through unbundled services.

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