Navigating the procedures and paperwork for a divorce or legal separation on your own is no easy task. Below are some tips that may make the process a little easier:
Are you using the right forms?
It is extremely important to use the right forms and to fill them out correctly. Colorado’s domestic court forms and instructions are available for free at the Colorado Supreme Court’s website – (https://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm…) – Beware of online sites that require you to pay for forms that may or may not be state-specific for Colorado.
Watch the deadlines
Failure to meet required deadlines may result in sanctions, limits on the evidence you are allowed to present or having your case dismissed.
Mind the Money
Each Party is required to completed a Sworn Financial Statement and exchange mandatory financial disclosures. The mandatory financial disclosures include information like bank statements, pay stubs, and credit card statements. The full list and an explanation can be found here: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/PDF/JDF1125.pdf
While this process can be tedious and intrusive, it is important to complete this step, even if you are in agreement about how to divide your finances. If this is not done correctly, your case may be delayed, and any agreement you make can be challenged later.
Show up to any scheduled court appearances. Most hearings will be in person, but other appearances like mediation or a status conference will most likely be virtual. Pay attention to the notice you receive. This will tell you whether your appearance is in person or virtual. You can find the Court’s virtual courtrooms here: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/County/Custom.cfm?County_ID=6&Page_ID=992
Whether you are appearing at a mediation or a hearing, you have a short time to make your point. Prepare by knowing what you want from the process, what the rules are, and the information relevant to your case. This will help make your presentation of your case more effective.
Choosing to represent yourself is not a decision to be taken lightly; the court will expect you to follow the same rules and procedures as someone who is represented by counsel. If you have decided to represent yourself in your divorce or legal separation and find yourself needing just a little help, I offer “a-la-carte” services such as document review, document drafting, limited appearances, and strategy review.
You may send me a private message, call me at 719-726-0133 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.