It is not uncommon for Colorado couples who are embarking on a divorce to think they have a basic grasp of the process, only to be surprised when it is more complicated and difficult than they believed it would be. This can stem from a misplaced reliance that television, films and even news stories are giving the scope of what the divorce process entails. While some divorces are relatively amicable and the couple can agree on child custody, asset distribution, maintenance, property division and other factors, many are more contentious.
Understanding the basic aspects of the divorce process can help people to be fully prepared for what lies ahead. First, there will be a petition, the document that initiates the divorce. Either side can file the petition. Next will be a summons and response. The spouse who is pursuing the divorce will inform the other party as to the intention. That spouse will subsequently acknowledge that it was received and the divorce process will move forward.
Motions are actions prior to trial. One example of a pretrial motion is for a spouse to request some form of support from the other after they have decided to live separately. Discovery is where the sides will accrue information to bolster its legal position. When the case is being contested, this can be critical. For example, certain assets could be hidden and the spouse who believes this to be the case will want them assessed as part of the case.
There will then be hearings and temporary orders. If, as in the previous example of seeking support, there is disagreement as to what should be provided, the court will listen to the arguments, look at the evidence and decide. The temporary order will be in effect until the case is complete. The trial is when witnesses will be called, the evidence will be presented the judge will decide the case. Often, couples will negotiate and avoid the need to go to court. This is preferable, if possible. If not, the judge will decide on the case.
Because divorce can be a complex legal matter, people should be cognizant of the potential risks in failing to have qualified legal advice from the beginning. Before taking the next step, calling a law firm that has experience in divorce cases and other areas of family law might be the wisest course of action to achieve a satisfactory outcome.