The time has come. You want a divorce. But what should you do first? Knowing the very first step in the divorce process can create momentum, get the process started, and help you feel like you’re making progress towards your goals. That’s why, often, this first step can be the most difficult.
Committing to a course of action, however, can be challenging—especially when you don’t know how to start. One of the most common questions when it comes to divorce is simple: where do I start?
The first step in any divorce proceeding is to file a petition.
How Do I File a Petition for Divorce?
The decision to end one’s marriage is usually an intensely personal one. There are a myriad of reasons why one might seek to dissolve a marriage agreement. Whatever those reasons are, the first step in the legal process of divorce is to file a petition. It’s important to note that this petition must be filed by one spouse and served on the other.
This process must be followed even if both parties desire the divorce. In those cases, both parties will usually openly discuss who will be the petitioner and who will be served. In cases of a mutual decision, there is usually little benefit to either role.
Once the petition is filled out, it must be filed with the state of Colorado. Most petitioners will file with the state court in whatever county they happen to live. For example, if you live in Fort Collins, CO, you would file at the Larimer County Courthouse in the same city.
Is Filing a Petition Easy?
The primary purpose for a petition for divorce (other than to notify the court of the decision to dissolve the marriage) is to articulate the grounds for divorce. Essentially, the grounds for divorce are the reasons why you think a divorce is necessary.
Depending on what those grounds happen to be and what your current situation is, filing a petition for divorce can be a particularly important step of the process. That’s why it might be important to consult with legal representation before you file.
If your divorce, living situation, and financials are all relatively straightforward, filing your petition might be easy. But what might feel “straightforward” at first could turn out to be complex in the long run. Having legal representation throughout the entire process can help you bolster a sense of confidence and, with that, peace of mind.
What Happens After I File a Petition?
Once you file your divorce petition, your spouse will usually have a limited amount of time in which to file a response. That response will usually dictate the rest of the proceedings (at least in terms of tone).
The process does not have to be an antagonistic one, as it is often depicted in popular culture. Most parties want to resolve their divorces without having to go through an extended process or involving the courts any more than necessary. Indeed, the vast majority of divorces are resolved between the parties before seeking the approval of a judge.
However your divorce proceeds from that first step, having an attorney and an advocate by your side can greatly improve your chances of a satisfactory outcome. To find out more about how to begin your divorce, contact the offices of Cossitt Law Firm to schedule a consultation.