Is Self-Representation Smart?

Colorado allows for a couple to file for an uncontested divorce, which is referred to as a "decree upon affidavit." This allows for the divorce to proceed without a court hearing. In order to be eligible for an uncontested divorce, one or both spouses must have lived in Colorado for more than 90 days, there is no property to be divided (or a signed agreement explaining the division is submitted), both spouses agree that the marriage is irretrievably broke and no minor children are involved.

Even if an uncontested divorce is right for you, it is still wise to have a lawyer review your final agreement. At The Drexler Law Group, LLC, we have helped many couples in Colorado Springs feel confident knowing that their divorce agreement is legally sound.

Filing The Paperwork

If eligible for an uncontested divorce, the proceedings are started by filing an "affidavit for decree without appearance of parties" at the district court in the county where one spouse is currently living. This can be filed together, as co-petitioners or individually. If filed individually, the other spouse will need to be served with the affidavit.

After the affidavit is filed, a judge will review it and issue a "decree of dissolution of marriage" once all divorce requirements are fulfilled. A judge cannot issue the decree until 90 days have passed since the affidavit was filed with the court. Any separation agreements submitted with the affidavit will be attached to the decree of divorce.

Self-Representation: How It Works

Every person involved in a court case has the right to representation through an attorney but self-representation is also an option. If this method is chosen, the litigant is willingly deciding to rely on his or her own abilities for representation in court. The litigant must be prepared to start the filings, submit all paperwork needed and present the case in court.

A self-representing litigant is responsible to learn about and follow all rules of the court. This includes how to start the proceeding, how parties are served with documents and how a trial is set and run. In addition to understanding the court procedures, he or she should understand the laws that govern the case. Taking the time to study the laws and how it affects the case will help the litigant be prepared for the court date.

For those interested in self-representation, the Colorado courts have provided a self-help website to locate the forms needed for each case and a list of applicable fees. Visit the Colorado Judicial Branch website to access these forms.

Benefits Of Unbundled Legal Services

Also known as limited scope representation, unbundled legal services allow a self-representing litigant to receive advice, counsel and legal documents through a legal professional. This means that an attorney will perform specific services that are agreed upon, but not fully represent the client in court. The advantages of this arrangement include:

  • Cost. The cost of hiring a lawyer for a limited service is much less than hiring an attorney to represent you in every aspect of the case.
  • Flexibility. The litigant can choose what aspects of the case to take on by themselves and what an attorney should handle. The litigant can focus on self-representation while having the benefit of legal advice.
  • Faster decisions. The litigant will have a better understanding of the court's procedures, thereby saving time that another self-represented litigant may waste. This will allow for the case to proceed faster, and the court decision will be finalized sooner.

Scope Of Unbundled Services

Unbundling is not the solution for every case or every client. Understanding what can be included in a limited scope service agreement can help you determine if this is the best solution for you. The following services can be included depending on the service agreement:

  • Legal document preparation
  • Legal advice
  • Prepared pleadings
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • Explanation of court procedures

Learn More In Your First Consultation

At our firm, your first consultation is complimentary. Our attorneys can help you determine if an uncontested divorce is right for you. Call our office at 719-359-4623 or submit a contact form to arrange a time to visit our office.