If there are issues that cannot wait until Final Orders, you can request that a Temporary Orders hearing be held. These are to address issues that need more immediate attention, such as temporary parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance, payment of bills, or use and possession of the martial home. The judge or magistrate will issue a Temporary Order that will remain in effect until the Final Order is issued. The Final Order does not have to be the same as the Temporary Order, and the Final Order may change the amount of child support or spousal maintenance or may change the parenting time schedule. Decisions such as payment of bills or use and possession of the home should be resolved at Final Orders when the property and debts are divided.
If you can reach a full written agreement signed by both parties in your case, an uncontested Final Orders hearing will be held. In the uncontested Final Orders hearing, the magistrate or judge will review the written agreement, ensure both sides understand the agreement and were not pressured or coerced into making the agreement, that any agreement regarding property is equitable, and any agreement regarding children is in the children’s best interests.
If at least one party is represented by an attorney and there are no minor children, you and your spouse can complete an Affidavit of Non-Appearance, requesting the Court review the agreement that has been filed and issue the Decree without requiring the parties to appear in front of the Court.
If all the issues are not resolved, a contested Final Orders hearing will be scheduled and held. You will each have a chance to present evidence such as testimony (your own and witnesses, if they are needed) and exhibits that support your case. After listening to the evidence, the judge will decide regarding the unresolved issues in your case and issue an order.
After the Final Orders hearing, or after the Separation Agreement has been filed, the Court will issue Final Orders and/or the Decree. If you have a hearing, the Decree will be effective as of the date of the hearing. If the Decree and Final Orders are entered at a later date, they will usually be back-dated to the date of the hearing.
While this is a generalized overview of the divorce process in Colorado, it is important to know that not every case is the same. If you have questions about getting a divorce, please contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to get the answers you need.