How Long Do You Have After Being Served Divorce Papers in Colorado?

How Long Do You Have After Being Served Divorce Papers in Colorado?

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No one enjoys receiving a court order, especially divorce petitions. Whether you knew divorce was inevitable or impending or not, seeing the words in stark black and white on paper is a disconcerting experience. If you’ve been served with divorce papers in Colorado, it means your spouse is the petitioner in the divorce process and you are the respondent. One of the first things to know as a respondent in a Colorado divorce is what you have to do next and how long you have to do it.

I Was Served With Divorce Papers in Colorado, How Long Do I Have to Respond?

Colorado courts require anyone served with a court motion to respond within 21 days, including petitions for divorce from a spouse. If you and your spouse have been separated and you currently live out of state, you have 35 days to respond.

Unless you have the reasonable expectation that you and your spouse can resolve any disputes over the terms of the divorce the petitioner included in the motion, it’s important to hire an attorney before filing your response.

What Do I Do After I Receive a Petition for Divorce in Colorado?

Once you have the divorce petition, it’s important to read it calmly and carefully. The petitioning spouse lists the terms they are seeking in a divorce agreement or through a judge’s decision in court if you dispute the terms. In Colorado, divorce terms include child custody or shared parenting time, child support, the division of marital assets, who retains the family home, and—in some cases—a request or offer of spousal support. Spousal support (alimony) in Colorado is usually a temporary measure until a spouse can achieve self-sufficiency.

Once you’ve carefully reviewed the terms of the divorce motion, you should hire an attorney to represent your interests. Your attorney will examine the document and you can discuss your spouse’s requests and any you’d like to contest as well as those requests you’d like to make. Your attorney will help you draft your response and file it with the court in the correct jurisdiction before the end of the 21 days.

All divorcing spouses in Colorado have to wait 91 days after filing the petition before going to court. This is the discovery period. During this time, your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer will request and exchange information about your assets, debts, and income.

What Happens If I Don't Respond To The Divorce Petition?

What Happens if I Don’t Respond to the Divorce Petition?

When a respondent fails to file a response to a divorce petition, they give up their rights to make requests of the court or to contest their spouse’s requests. Not responding does not stop the divorce. Instead, the process moves forward in a default divorce. The court then compels the respondent to abide by their spouse’s terms for asset distribution, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance even though they failed to respond or appear at the hearing. If the respondent ignores the divorce orders they face serious repercussions including fines and possible jail time under contempt of court charges.

Call a Denver Divorce Lawyer If You’ve Been Served Divorce Papers

No one should go it alone in the divorce process if their spouse has filed for divorce and has an attorney. It’s rarely a good idea to ignore a divorce petition and accept a divorce by default. Instead, speak to an Denver divorce attorney as soon as possible about the divorce petition served to you by your spouse.