Getting a divorce in Colorado can be daunting, so following is a generalized overview of the process and what to expect.
The first step in the Colorado divorce process is to file the necessary paperwork. If you are filing without an attorney (pro se), the initial paperwork that needs to be filed can be found here.
Filing the case:
If you both agree to go forward with the divorce and are filing without attorneys, you can both sign the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage as Petitioner and Co-Petitioner. If your spouse won’t sign the Petition, you can file on your own. If you file on your own, you will need to have your spouse served with the Petition or they will need to sign a Waiver of Service.
Serving Divorce Papers:
Service must be completed by someone who is not a party to the case and is over 18 years of age. Service can be completed by the Sheriff’s Office, or you can hire a professional process server. You can also have someone you know complete service, but you will need to make sure they correctly fill out an Affidavit of Service.
Receiving Divorce Papers:
What if you are on the other end and your spouse is asking you to sign a Waiver of Service or has served you with divorce papers? If you are asked to sign a Waiver of Service, this means you are not requiring that you be formally served by an uninterested third party (usually a sheriff’s deputy or process server). You do not have to sign the Waiver of Service and this means you will need to be served.
If you are a member of the military, a reservist, or in the National Guard on active duty, you can request the proceedings be suspended for a time under the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA). You may want to consult with an attorney to discuss whether this is something you would like to do.
Once you are served or sign a Waiver of Service, you have 21 days to file a Response (35 days if you are served outside the state of Colorado). It is important to review the information in the paperwork you receive. If there is inaccurate information such as incorrect birthdates, marriage date (this is especially important if there is a common law marriage), date of separation, or other inaccuracies, you will want to correct these in your Response. Even if there is nothing that needs to be corrected, you should still file a Response to confirm the information and indicate to the court that you plan on participating in the process.
After the case is filed, you will receive several deadlines from the Court. The tasks to be completed and the deadlines can be overwhelming, so it is important to go step by step.