Starting the Divorce Process in Colorado
The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the document that essentially asks the Court to divorce you and your Spouse. The parties (meaning you and your spouse) are labeled as Petitioner and Respondent. The Petitioner is the party that is initially filing for the divorce and the Respondent is the party that is answering the the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
In the State of Colorado, whether you are the Petitioner or Respondent is of no consequence to the outcome of your case as Colorado is a No Fault divorce state. The Summons is the document that commands the Respondent to literally respond to your case within 21 days (35 if out of state) and the Case Information Sheet lists all the personal information about the parties and the children that is necessary for child support and other property purposes.
The soonest you can be divorced in the State of Colorado is the 91st day after the Respondent is served with the divorce paperwork, but often times, cases go well beyond that point due to issues between the parties that need to be litigated.
Your first appearance in court will be the Initial Status Conference, which is an informal update with the Court about where the case stands and the direction that it is going -- this takes place within 42 days after filing the case.
After you file a case, you will work with your attorney to begin collecting financial documents that have to be exchanged with the opposing party and if there are children involved, you will have to sign up for a parenting class, as required by law, so that your divorce can eventually be finalized.
This is the basic process to starting a divorce case in Colorado.
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