In Colorado, to commence a divorce case, one party files a Petition for Dissolution and serves the other party with the same. One can obtain service either by utilizing the local Sheriff’s office or a private process server.
There are four critical steps in the first phase of a divorce case. First, once a party is served with a Petition, they have 21 days to file a Response to the Petition. The Response merely admits or denies the allegations in the Petition. Second, if there are minor children at issue in the divorce case, each party is required to attend a Parenting Class. The Parenting Class is a four hour class and is a great source of information as it pertains to children issues during a divorce case. Third, the Court will set an Initial Status Conference 4-8 weeks out, depending on the County. The Initial Status Conference is more procedural than substantive in nature. This is where you introduce the case to the Court and schedule out the deadlines in the case. In some counties, temporary orders may be addressed at the conference.
The fourth step in the first phase of a divorce case, and the most critical, is 16.2 Financial Disclosures. Each side is required to submit a Sworn Financial Statement setting forth their income and expenses as well as their assets and liabilities. Further, each side is required to produce to the other side the complete list of 16.2 Financial Disclosures which includes, but is not limited to, three years of tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, retirement account statements, and real estate documents.
Once these initial steps are complete, the case moves into the settlement phase, which will include Mediation (which is typically ordered by the Court in most counties). If you are unable to settle one or more of the pertinent issues, ultimately, you will have a trial in front of the Judge on said issues.
Please contact the Domestic Team here at Feldmann Nagel Margulis for all of your Family Law Needs.