1. Complete the Initial Pleadings
JDF 1000 - Case Information Sheet (Word Template | Word | PDF). This form contains personal. information about the couple which is for the Court's information, but not releasable to the public. The form is self-explanatory, and tick the boxes which say each of you are planning on being self-represented (they won't hold you to that if something changes!). You can stop at the end of the first page, unless there has been other relevant litigation (e.g. parenting case, restraining order).
JDF 1101 - Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation (Word | PDF). This document formally asks the Court to grant a dissolution or legal separation. Tick the appropriate boxes, depending upon whether you're seeking a legal separation or a dissolution, and whether there are minor children of the marriage. Assuming you are filing jointly with your spouse, both of you should then sign/notarize the last page.
JDF 1102 - Summons for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation (Word Template | Word | PDF). This form is only needed if you and your spouse did not sign the Petition jointly. Fill out the caption on both pages, and tick the appropriate box for a dissolution or legal separation. Do not sign this form (that's for the clerk of court), nor complete the second page other than the caption.
FCF 900 - Standard Order to Parents - Fourth Judicial District (Word). 4th Judicial District Only. This form is only needed if you and your spouse have minor children. Complete the caption at the top of this form. This document contains default parenting provisions which are binding on both parties until further order of the Court.
FCF 400 - Domestic Relations Case Management Order Pursuant to Rule 16.2 (PDF). 4th Judicial District Only. Complete the caption at the top of the form. This document advises the parties of the rules governing how the case will proceed.
FCF 700 - Notice of Applicability of Court Forms, etc. (Word). 4th Judicial District Only. Complete the caption at the top of the form. This document is somewhat similar to the Domestic Relations Case Management Order, and sets out procedures for the parties to follow.
2. Make one copy of all documents.
3. File Initial Pleadings at Court
- Bring the original and your copy of the applicable documents listed above to the Clerk's office (Room S-101 in El Paso County).
- Bring money for the applicable filing fee. These are subject to change, but in 2015, are $230 for a Colorado divorce, legal separation or annulment, all with or without children. In El Paso County, cases with children have a mandatory parenting class for both parties to attend, which is an additional fee of $25. You can learn more about this parenting class here: Children & Families in Transition Seminar.
- The clerk will keep the original documents, and stamp your copies of each one, except for the Summons.
- If you have a Summons, the clerk will stamp, date & sign the original, and return that to you for serving on your spouse.
- The clerk will also set an Initial Status Conference with a domestic court facilitator for about 40 days out (more details later), and give you two copies of the Notice of Initial Status Conference - one for you, and one to give to your spouse, or to serve on your spouse with the initial pleadings.
4. Make Copy of all Stamped Pleadings
If both spouses jointly signed the Petition, skip steps 5 & 6, and go to next page.
5. Serve the Initial Pleadings on Your Spouse
If your spouse is cooperative, simply give him/her a copy of the initial pleadings, and obtain his/her notarized signature on the Waiver & Acceptance of Service on the second page of the Summons.
If your spouse is not cooperative, but you're still trying to do this yourself, then you can have any adult who is not a party to the case (i.e. anyone but you) serve your spouse with the initial pleadings. You can also use the Civil Section of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office for a modest charge of $35 or so. Whoever serves your spouse will then sign and notarize the Return of Service on the second page of the Summons. (Note that many process servers will have their own form instead - this is perfectly acceptable to the Court).
Jointly filing the Petition, serving your spouse, or your spouse signing a waiver of service all start the 90-day waiting period before the dissolution or legal separation can be final.
6. File the Return of Service
Copy the Summons/Return of Service for your records, then file the original with the Clerk of Court.