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If you have minor children, unless both spouses have counsel, you cannot simply submit the signed paperwork to the court and wait for the decree.  Instead, the spouses in Colorado divorces involving children, or if they're getting a legal separation (don't ask - it's a quirk in the statute) are required to attend an uncontested permanent orders hearing.

 

Set the Hearing

 

In the 4th Judicial District, there is a simplified process to obtain an uncontested hearing date:

  1. Fill out FCF 1015 - Notice to Set for Uncontested Hearing (Pro Se).  (Word(4th Judicial District Only).  Complete the questionnaire on the second page of the form.  Use the lettered division (e.g. R, V, X, Y, Z) in the caption.
  2. File the Notice to Set, together with two self-addressed stamped envelopes, in room S-105 at the Courthouse.
  3. File the other final documents with the Court:
  • Decree of Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation,
  • Support Order,
  • Separation Agreement,
  • Parenting Plan, and
  • Child Support Worksheet.

The court will set the hearing date, and mail you back a copy of the form with the date, time, and place of the hearing.

In other judicial districts, the procedure will vary (see JDF 1122 - Instructions to Set a Hearing and to Complete a Notice of Hearing or Status Conference Form (Word | PDF) for more information), but will probably include steps similar to the following:

  1. Call the specific division to find out how and what days of the week they do their hearing settings.
  2. Complete and file with the Court JDF 1123 - Notice to Set Hearing.  (Word Template | Word | PDF).  Indicate which day you'll be calling the court clerk to obtain a hearing date (the day(s) you were advised of in step 1, but at least a week out).  Indicate that it is a permanent orders hearing, and should take about 15 minutes.
  3. Call the court on the designated date to obtain the hearing date.  Note that the Court may require you to have your spouse conference in, if not, then once you obtain the date, let your spouse know when it is.
  4. Complete and file with the Court JDF 1124 - Notice of Hearing.  (Word Template | Word | PDF).

 

Unavailable or Out-of-Town Spouse

 

A spouse who is not in the local area can generally participate in the hearing by telephone, using this procedure:

  1. Complete and file with the Court JDF 1309 - Motion for Absentee Testimony Pursuant to C.R.C.P. 43.  (Word | PDF).  The reason for the testimony is that you will be in (place).  The description of the testimony will be the reasons why a dissolution is necessary, and testimony as to your agreements.
  2. Complete the caption only, and file with the Court JDF 1310 - Order for Absentee Testimony.  (Word Template | Word | PDF).  Along with the original, you also need to file two copies of the order with self-addressed stamped envelopes for both you and your spouse.  The court will fill out the means by which you'll have to contact the Court - generally, you'll have to call the court at a specific time, or you'll have to provide your number and accept a collect call from the Court.
  3. Instead of appearing in person at the hearing, you follow exactly whatever instructions were written on the order mailed back to you.

 

Attend the Hearing

 

Dress respectably.  Don't bring your children to the courtroom (Click for more information on Court Care, a free service at the El Paso County Courthouse to watch your children while at court).  Arrive at the courtroom at least 5 minutes early.  Be polite to the judge or magistrate.  For more guidance on courtroom etiquette, review this guide from the Colorado Judicial Branch: What You Need to Know About Representing Yourself in Court.

Bring a copy of all of your pleadings and financial documents to the hearing with you.

The hearing should take about 10-15 minutes, during which the magistrate will ask you and your spouse questions about the marriage, and about the agreements you have reached.  Providing that everything was filled out properly and submitted in advance, the court will grant the dissolution, and give you a copy of the decree of dissolution the same day.

Have a CO divorce or custody case? Black & Graham can help.

(719) 328-1616

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