Being served with divorce papers can raise a lot of questions about what you need to do next in order to protect your interests. What to do next, and knowing your options can be essential to taking the right steps – and avoiding costly mistakes – as you respond to the divorce petition and continue through the process.
Have You Just Been Served Divorce Papers?
Call (970) 488-1887 or Email Us for
a Free Consultation & Helpful Advice Regarding Your Rights & Options
The Fort Collins divorce attorneys at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC are ready to discuss your situation and explain your options for responding to a divorce petition. We are also ready to immediately start protecting your interests and to work relentlessly to help you achieve your goals in divorce.
In the meantime, please explore the rest of this page for important information about how to respond to divorce petitions in Colorado.
What Are My Options If I Don’t Want a Divorce?
If you do not feel that your marriage is irretrievably broken, you can explain this in your divorce response. When there are disagreements about the possibility of reconciliation, you can request counseling and/or mediation to try to work out the dispute. The court may also order counseling, mediation and/or arbitration (independent of a spouse’s request).
If you and your spouse still disagree about reconciliation (after pursuing counseling, mediation and/or arbitration), the court will usually recognize that the marriage is irretrievably broken – meaning that the divorce will move forward.
How to File a Divorce Response
Once divorce papers are served in Colorado, you have 21 days from the date of service to file a response. The official court form for filing a divorce response in Colorado is available here.
Your response is effectively an “answer” to the initial divorce petition. In it, you have the opportunity to explain your side and how you stand in terms of the issue(s) in the divorce case.
Specifically, your divorce response can:
- Agree with the issue(s) in the initial petition – If you agree with everything your spouse has stated and asked for in the initial divorce petition, you can proceed with an uncontested divorce. These types of divorce cases tend to be resolved faster than contested divorces.
- Disagree with any issue in the initial petition – If you object to any detail or request that your spouse has included in the initial divorce petition, you should clearly explain your stance and request(s) regarding the disputed issue(s). Commonly, disputed issues in divorce cases include (but may not be limited to):
o What constitutes marital assets
o How the marital assets are divided
o How legal and physical custody of a child should be divided
o Whether support payments should be awarded or how much support payments should be.
What If Miss the Deadline for Filing My Divorce Response?
If you fail to file your divorce response within 21 days of being served, the court will assume that you agree with the initial petition. That commonly means that failure to respond to a divorce petition will result in a court awarding the petitioner (i.e., the spouse who initiated the divorce filing and case) what (s)he has requested in the initial petition.
Where Should I File My Divorce Response?
Your divorce response should be filed with the court where the initial divorce petition was filed by your spouse. Generally, this will be the family court in the county where you or your spouse resides.
What Happens after I File My Divorce Response?
Once your divorce response is filed, the next steps in the process will vary, depending on whether the case is:
- Uncontested – When no issues are disputed in divorce, the case can be fast-tracked to the final hearing and the issuance of a formal divorce decree.
- Contested – When any issue of a divorce is disputed, additional hearings (and/or other proceedings) will typically be scheduled in an effort to resolve the dispute(s) and hammer out a divorce agreement.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with a Divorce Response?
Yes, if you are serious about protecting your interests as you proceed with divorce, having the representation and guidance of an experienced lawyer – like a divorce attorney at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC – is necessary.
That is because a lawyer can:
- Inform you of your rights and options
- Help you complete all necessary court forms and properly submit them within the required deadlines
- Advocate and advance your interests at every stage of your divorce case
- Work diligently to help you achieve your goals and bring your divorce case to the best resolution possible.
Even if you are planning to proceed with an uncontested divorce, a lawyer can provide indispensable advice regarding the proposed divorce agreement, informing you whether or not it really will serve and protect your interests in the future.
Get Experienced Help Protecting Your Interests in Divorce: Contact a Fort Collins Divorce Lawyer at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC
If you are preparing for divorce or need help resolving any family law issue, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Fort Collins divorce lawyer at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC to find out more about your options and how we can help you.
Call (970) 488-1887 or email our firm to set up a free consultation. If you are unable to make it to our offices, we provide consultations via phone and Skype.
At the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC, our attorneys are dedicated advocates who partner with each of our clients to devise custom, practical solutions that fit their needs, circumstances and goals. With extensive experience handling various types of divorce cases, we have the insight and skills you can count on for superior representation throughout the course of your divorce case.
From offices in Fort Collins, we represent clients throughout Larimer County and the state of Colorado.