Your attorney will walk you through the entire process of filing for divorce and answer any questions you may have. He or she will also be with you every step of the way. But this information provides an overview so you know in advance what to expect.
First is the Flowchart to Getting a Divorce or Legal Separation with Children of this Marriage. Additional flow charts for a variety of situations are available from the Colorado Judicial Branch.
When you work with an attorney at The Cossitt Law Firm, you can expect:
- Your attorney will develop a strategy before even filing the Petition for Dissolution, which will include everything from when to file and how to serve your spouse (waiver, process server, or no service if co-petition).
- Your attorney will advise you about the initial injunction and the deadlines that you will need to comply with that are determined at the time of filing. We will work with you to ensure that all deadlines are met in advance or we will seek a continuance when additional time is needed. We have processes and procedures for each phase of the case, and comprehensive practice materials, all of which are designed specifically for providing you with efficient and quality representation.
- Your attorney will assist you in identifying and gathering all relevant evidence for the issues in your case and will prepare your sworn financial statement and other mandatory financial disclosures.
- Your attorney will advise you which issues need to be investigated further versus which matters could be agreed upon. He or she will advise you of your options going forward and the associated implications of the decision to be made, and ensure you make a well-informed decision. A CFI or PRE can investigate parenting time and decision-making concerns, and appraisers and vocational evaluators can investigate financial issues. Additionally, your attorney can pursue discovery to obtain additional information and documentation from your spouse.
- Your attorney will attempt to get agreements where possible and where it would be in client’s best interests, all while keeping your specific goals and the overall resolution of the case in mind.
- Your attorney will work toward establishing normalcy to avoid conflict while the case is pending. This is often done through temporary orders that can establish orders on any issue (parenting time, decision-making, exclusive possession of marital residence, maintenance, temporary possession of property, etc.) on a temporary basis while your case is advancing through the process.
- Your attorney will negotiate directly with your spouse and his or her attorney when possible, mediate when helpful, and litigate (let the judge decide) when necessary.
In order to initiate a divorce before the court, one spouse must first file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (“Petition”) with the appropriate court. After the Petition has been filed, the other spouse is required to file a response, or he or she risks facing a default judgment. The timeframe for filing a response is limited and can vary depending on the unique facts of the case. When filing a response to the Petition, your spouse must include any additional claims he or she might have; otherwise, he or she could permanently waive his or her right to make a claim.
Once your attorney has filed the divorce on your behalf, the court will set an Initial Status Conference, usually in the first 42 days after filing the case with the court. This is an opportunity for the court to ensure the case is progressing as it should and to set future deadlines to comply with going forward, depending on the circumstances of each case. Commonly, the court will set deadlines for issuing discovery and involving experts, and will set another conference with the court to ensure the case advances as it should.
While the case is progressing through the process, either party may request that the court establish orders on a temporary basis. These orders would address any issue that needs attention, such as exclusive possession of the marital residence, payment of the bills and debts, child support, maintenance, and parenting time and decision-making.
Your case resolution means you can finally close a chapter in your life and move on to the next. Although you may feel the case is proceeding slower than you would like, our goal is to help you get through it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Family law cases conclude when there is an agreement between the parties or when a judge makes final decisions. When you are able to negotiate an agreement with your spouse, you work together (with the help of your attorneys) through some give-and-take on each side to eventually come to an agreement that you can both live with. Once the agreement has been signed, because you had a hand in the agreement’s development, you fully understand the terms. The attorneys at The Cossitt Law Firm believe that negotiation typically works best for everyone involved.
When the final decision is left in the hands of the courts, personal wishes of the parties are removed from consideration. The judge is more likely to rule primarily based on past cases, not individual circumstances, and the reasoning for his or her ruling may be uncertain. Both parties may be left with a decision that neither likes but both will have to live with. However, if there are two parties that cannot come to any kind of agreement, going to trial makes the most sense to bring the case to an end and your attorney will do his or her best to achieve your goals.
The court also requires parties to participate in mediation, a process where an objective third party tries to facilitate agreements. Mediation is designed to help the two parties come to an agreement without the assistance of the court, but it can be with the assistance of an attorney. Mediation should be attempted once all the relevant information has been exchanged and concerns have been reviewed or investigated as needed.
Negotiating the resolution of a case is always an option and can be attempted at any time before the court enters an order. While not all cases start out with the likelihood of an agreement, settlement discussion should be revisited as the case progresses and as additional information becomes available.
If you are planning on filing for divorce but require some assistance before doing so, contact The Cossitt Law Firm to meet with one of our Fort Collins divorce lawyers – who serve clients throughout Larimer and Weld counties, Colorado.