How to File for Divorce - The Step by Step Process
Going through a divorce can be a difficult, stressful, and time-consuming process. You may not even know where to start. Attorneys Fred A. Dunsing, Lucy H. Deakins, and Joseph W. Galera can help. The Denver, CO family law attorneys of Dunsing & Deakins, LLC provide legal help for divorce proceedings and disputes. Our goal is to make even the most complicated family law topics easy to understand.
With this in mind, our law firm would like to provide a brief step-by-step overview of the divorce process. This should give you an idea of how amicable divorces and contentious divorces play out, and what you can expect during different phases of the process.
Determining If You Should File a Divorce
Before moving forward with a divorce, you must determine if a divorce is necessary. Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, so there doesn’t need to be a specific reason for the divorce to move forward. If couples therapy, marriage counseling, or taking some time cannot mend the marriage, then you should proceed with a divorce.
Checking Your Colorado Residency
In order to file a divorce in Colorado, you have to verify your state residency. This means that you must have an established residence in the state of Colorado for at least 90 days.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
Another important aspect before the divorce process begins is the nature of the divorce itself.
In an uncontested divorce, the two spouses agree about the terms of divorce, including division of assets and child custody arrangements. In a contested divorce, there are court proceedings and potentially long legal battles over the terms of the divorce.
Uncontested divorces take much less time and are far less expensive than contested divorces. Working with our Denver lawyers can potentially turn a contested divorce into something more amicable and easier to work through.
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
The first step in the actual filing of a divorce is a petition for the dissolution of marriage. The official decree of the dissolution of marriage will be issued 90 days after the petition has been filed.
Even in a jointly filed uncontested divorce, there will be a 90-day period in case the couple changes their mind and decides they can work things out in their marriage.
Notifying Your Spouse
In contested divorces, you may file a separate petition for the dissolution of marriage, which will then be served to your spouse. If the petition is filed jointly in a contested marriage, there is no need for the petition to be served.
The Initial Status Conference
In a contested divorce, the next step is an initial status conference. This is held within 42 days of the petition for the dissolution of marriage being filed. This informal meeting held outside of court allows spouses and/or their legal representatives to meet and discuss the various issues in their divorce.
Since assets and debts are divided in a divorce, couples in a contested divorce are required to exchange all of their financial information with one another within 42 days of the petition being filed.
Temporary Orders Hearing
Once all financial information is shared, a temporary orders hearing may occur. These are done to arrange temporary spousal support or child support as the contested divorce proceedings continue. Since contested divorces can take months or even years, such arrangements are common.
The Discovery Process
As the contested divorce continues, there is a process known as discovery. This involves lawyers for each spouse asking for information or documents from the other spouse as needed. Documents and interrogatories are given in order for each side to build their case.
Permanent Orders Hearing
If spouses cannot agree to certain terms in their contested divorce, a permanent orders hearing will be held. In these hearings, a divorce judge will hear the arguments from each spouse and then make a decision regarding the matter under contention.
Speak with Our Divorce Lawyers
To learn more about your legal options during a divorce and how we can help you, be sure to contact our team of divorce and family law attorneys. The legal team at Dunsing & Deakins, LLC can be reached by phone in Denver at (303) 758-8981.