Some divorces are so easy they are final after 90 days without a shot fired in Colorado courts. Others are so hard they take months up to a year to end. The former is for uncontested divorces, when both spouses agree on everything right down to which years the kids spend Christmas vacation with which parents. The latter is for contested divorces. It can be because the spouses cannot agree on some issues. It may also be when one spouse tries to prevent the divorce.
Here is a general outline of what divorce lawyers have to do in a contested divorce.
File the Petition
Matthewsfamilylawyers.com explains that only one spouse has to file a petition for the divorce. A petition for a couple with no children is different from those with children. The other spouse receives the documents and has 21 days to respond if he or she lives in Colorado. If the respondent is out of state, the deadline is in 30 days. If there is no response within that period, the court can enter orders against the absent spouse by default.
File for Temporary Orders
It will probably take more than 90 days to finalize a contested divorce, and it is likely that one spouse will move out of the family home. In the meantime, life goes on. Children have to go to school, bills have to be paid, and other family obligations continue. Temporary orders will assign rights and responsibilities to each spouse. The divorce lawyers will present documents to the court to support claims of their clients, and the court will decide on the terms of the temporary living and financial arrangements.
Prepare for Discovery
It is customary for spouses to give information to the court to support their claims or dispute the claims of the other spouse. These may affect child custody, financial support, division of property, and other issues in a contested divorce. This process takes a long time because the information needs verification. Depending on circumstances, court-ordered mediation or other counseling programs may be necessary.
Present the Evidence
It is unlikely that the spouses will ever completely agree on all issues in a contested divorce. The judge will, therefore, have the final say over the terms of the divorce decree. Divorce lawyers have to present their cases to support their clients’ claims on each contested item so that the judge will rule in their favor. Once the judge issues a final ruling, the terms go into the divorce decree and enter into the record.
The skill and experience of the divorce lawyers can spell the difference between a fair and unfair divorce settlement. If you divorce is contested, you need to have a good lawyer at your side to protect your interests.