A divorce proceeding can be a daunting prospect to all the parties involved; the process may be viewed as complex and strenuous especially to someone that has never been through a divorce proceeding. The process of dissolving a marriage is however straightforward and has set processes in place. Apart from additional hearings and motions that may need to be filed based on your unique case, the structure of divorce proceedings remains the same.
Colorado Divorce Filing
- Initial Status Conference; This conference must be scheduled within 30 days of the Petition of the Dissolution of Marriage being submitted, and serves the purposes of advising the judge of the conflicts that would prevent the divorce from being amicably resolved, and for deadlines to be set by the court for parties to provide documents and complete other requirements.
The conflicts that may arise during divorce proceedings and would be brought up in the Initial status conference are;
- Division of properties.
- Division of debts.
- Child support.
- Spousal Maintenance.
- Parenting responsibilities and allocation of parental time.
Deadlines are set in the case by the judge to ensure that all disclosures, appointment of experts and courses mandated by the court which are required for the divorce process are provided in a timely manner that allows for the cohesive flow of the case.
At the Initial Conference Hearing the issues that the parties have agreed on will be entered into the record and a date set for the Temporary Orders Hearing to have additional qualms resolved.
- The Settlement Conference; after the Initial Status Conference both parties will be required to attempt to mediate temporary issues required for functioning from day to day while the divorce is in procession. This stage is primarily set so both parties may try to resolve as many of the conflicts involved in the dispute before the Temporary Orders Hearing.
Dialogue may take place at the offices of either party’s Colorado divorce attorney and in cases that one or more party is unable or unwilling to meet in person; a telephone conference as well as having your attorney represent you in dialogues may be utilized.
- Temporary Orders Hearing; at this stage of the divorce proceedings a judge will make rulings on the issues that were unsuccessfully resolved at the Settlement Conference. The rulings made will be temporary orders made in regards to;
- Use of property.
- Payment of debts.
- Child support.
- Spousal support.
- Parenting time.
These rulings are necessary to ensure that all affairs needed for day to day functions are temporarily resolved, which will allow the divorce process to continue without haste.
The Temporary Order hearing normally occurs 30 days after the Initial Status Conference and each case would usually be allocated an hour for both parties to make their arguments as well as rebut any claim made by the other party that they disagree with.
- Mediation; this stage allows both parties to try to reach a final resolution of the conflicts in a divorce through dialogue. The time frame allowed for the completion of mediation ensures that deadlines are met; so documents and expert analysis will be available for review before any decisions are made.
The mediation process is handled by an expert who will review the case from the perspective of each party and make appropriate recommendations based on the case. The mediator will argue for both parties to be reasonable in their demands and will provide honest input on the requests of either party based on the Colorado judicial system.
The mediation process promotes the free flow of ideas and possible comprises from both parties without any proposal made being viewed as an agreement or being held accountable for suggesting a willingness to make a compromise.
- Final Orders Hearing; after mediatory options have been exhausted the Final Orders Hearing will convene. This hearing is presided over by a judge who will make a ruling on any unresolved issues in order to dissolve the marriage. Agreements that were reached in mediation will be entered into the records at this stage.
During this hearing the presiding judge will hear arguments from both parties, as well as hear testimonies regarding issues ruling is to be made on, and review evidence/documents provided in the case. When a judge has reviewed all the circumstances in the case a final ruling will then be made and put into effect which will then allow the marriage to be completely nullified.
Rulings made at the Final Orders Hearing are final and must be abided by; with some decisions the judge may set milestones or indicate the length of time that these orders will be in effect for.