What To Expect From Divorce

In each Colorado case there are two parties: the petitioner, who files the case, and the respondent, sometimes called the co-petitioner if both parties agree to file.

Your case will ordinarily begin with the filing of the petition, either for dissolution or for legal separation. The Drexler Law Group, LLC, in Colorado Springs can help you whether you are intending to file, have already filed or are the responding party. After the case has been filed with the court, the respondent must be served via process server or sign a waiver of service.

Initial Status Conference

Within 30 days of filing the petition, your case may be set for an initial status conference. At the initial status conference, oftentimes referred to simply as ISC, the magistrate judge or court facilitator should provide the parties with deadlines for other significant stages of your case.

As your case moves forward from the initial status conference, ISC, you will have several items to complete, depending on your type of case.

For example, if your case involves children, both parties will be required to attend a children and families in transition class, also known as CFIT.

In nearly every domestic relations case, both parties will need to complete a financial disclosure including a sworn financial statement and produce, when necessary, bank statements, taxes, etc.

Temporary Orders Hearing

A temporary orders hearing can be scheduled if the parties require court orders pertaining to child support, parenting time or marital property prior to the final orders hearing. As you might expect, the temporary orders hearing usually results in orders intended to be temporary while the parties work toward a final resolution or prepare to present their case to the judge at a final orders hearing.

  • Temporary orders are indeed official court orders that both parties must abide by until additional orders are entered.
  • Temporary orders are not mandatory, and not all cases require this type of hearing.
  • Oftentimes, the parties can agree to interim orders or their own temporary orders that the court can adopt as an official court order.

Prior to a temporary orders hearing, the parties and the attorneys should conduct a good faith settlement conference in which the attorneys and parties explore settlement on any temporary issues. We have enjoyed success in resolving the entire case by using effective negotiation and advocacy skills, which allow us to better explain the real issues involved and to explore creative solutions that will work in unique circumstances.

Mediation

Standing judicial orders require mediation in almost every domestic relations or family law case. If any issue is contested, mediation will be a necessary step in your divorce or family law matter process.

Mediation involves both parties and their respective attorneys sitting down with a mediator, who is normally a retired judge or other experienced attorney or professional dispute manager.

The mediator is not an advocate and does not represent either party. Instead, he or she works with the parties and the attorneys representing the parties to achieve settlement or resolution on as many issues as possible.

There is no requirement or rule however that forces a party to accept a settlement proposal or offer. If an agreement can be reached at mediation, the mediator or the attorneys can prepare a memorandum of understanding that both parties sign as evidence of an agreement.

The attorneys can then draw up the final settlement documents (including a separation agreement, parenting plan and support orders) as well as any proposed orders and the official decree or final order.

The attorneys can then file the entire settlement packet with the court and request the court to adopt the agreement in full.

This process is significantly less expensive than preparing for a full hearing with the court.

A successful mediation also removes a large amount of uncertainty. If an agreement is reached, you would have had a part in crafting the agreement and would know immediately the terms of the agreement.

Final Orders Hearing

If your case cannot be settled at mediation or by negotiation prior to mediation, it will be set for a final orders hearing.

At the final orders hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to call witnesses, and present exhibits and evidence to support their position. The judge reviews all aspects of the case and makes a final ruling.

The orders the judge issues are intended to be permanent (in some respects) and the decree is entered into place. (Please see our Post-Decree page for information on modifying these permanent orders). The reality is that the term "final" is a terrible qualifier for a hearing or orders involving children.

Without a doubt, a significant amount of post-decree work (i.e. after the final orders or final decree is entered) is intended to modify prior orders.

For example, a parenting plan or visitation schedule may need to be modified in the event a party must relocate due to a job or career change. Also, child support can be modified in the event that a significant financial change occurs such as a job loss, a promotion or raise or even the birth of another child.

In the event your case proceeds to a final orders hearing, you will have the confidence of knowing that The Drexler Law Group, LLC, has prepared your case, has tendered the correct evidence and legal support, has reached out to the appropriate experts and has prepared you for your day in court. This will be a familiar process in our representation; we will be prepared, and we will let you know what to expect throughout the entire process.

To prepare for your final orders hearing, you may request that an expert be appointed to determine the best interests of your children. In Colorado, you may have a CFI, child and family investigator, or a PRE, parental responsibilities evaluator assigned to your case.

Learn More About Divorce And Separation

The attorneys at The Drexler Law Group, LLC, understand that the process of domestic relations and family law might be new to you. Take comfort, however, that the process is quite familiar to our law practice, and we have succeeded in representing our clients through the entire process.

To schedule your free consultation, send us an email or call our office at 719-359-4623.