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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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