Notice: if you are
unsure about how to complete forms or how to proceed, you may wish to
consult with an attorney. Court staff can not answer questions
regarding legal issues.
A petition for dissolution of
marriage requests termination of a marriage.
A petition for legal separation
request a court order to arrange the terms of allocation of parental
responsibility, child support, maintenance, debts, and property
division under which a married couple will live separately.
A petitioner is a
person filing a formal written application to a court requesting
A co-petitioner is a
person filing together with the petitioner a formal written application
to a court requesting judicial action.
A respondent is the
person against whom an action is being taken.
Personal service is
proof of notification of filing of divorce.
91 DAYS - the amount of time one
wife or husband must be a resident of Colorado
before a divorce action can be filed in
182 days - the amount of time children
must have lived in this state before Colorado has the right to
91 DAYS - the minimum time which must
pass, after a divorce action is filed and served, before final orders
Dissolution of Marriage is $230.00.
Legal Separation is $225.00. At the time you pay your filing fee,
you will receive a receipt from the clerk that will contain your case
number. Include that case number on all further paper work. Be
sure to have that case number if you call the court for any
reason. While your case is active you must keep the court
informed of any address changes. You must do this in writing.
Forms in pre- made packets are available
at the clerk's office for $10.00. Most individual forms are $.75.
Forms are also available at
To begin the process to get divorced, you
must file a Petition and pay a filing fee. Complete the front and
back pages of the petition with all the necessary information that
applies to you.
There are two ways to begin the
- Both you and your spouse may sign the
Petition as Petitioner and Co-petitioner.
- You may sign as a Petitioner naming
your spouse as the Respondent. If you file as the Petitioner
naming your spouse as the Respondent you must serve your spouse with
papers or have your spouse sign a waiver of service ( see information
about this under Summons)
Either way a court employee or a Notary
must witness the signature (s) on the petition. The signing and
the filing of the Petition are only the beginning of the
AUTOMATIC TEMPORARY INJUNCTION
An automatic temporary injunction will be
in effect upon the joint filing of the petition, or upon service of the
Petition and Summons on the Respondent, or upon the signing of a waiver
and acceptance of service by the Respondent. You will find the
Temporary Injunction printed on the Petition and Summons included in
the pre-made form packets. This does not take effect until the
other party is personally served. This is only available in
divorce cases. There is no temporary injunction in Allocation of
Parental Responsibilities case.
CHANGE OF NAME
If you are filing, and you desire to have
a prior name restored, you must so indicate on the Petition. If that
party is the Respondent, the request should be noted on the response.
If your spouse is signing the petition
with you, the summons is not necessary.
Complete the Summons listing the
Petitioner and Respondent. Court staff will issue (sign the
bottom of) the summons. Unless you and your spouse file as
Petitioner and Co-petitioner, or your spouse is willing to sign a
waiver (see below), you must arrange to have the Petition, Summons and
Order Regarding Parenting Class served on your spouse.
In Allocation of Parental
Responsibilities cases, in which a 3rd party grandparent has
filed, service must be accomplished on both the mother AND the father.
SERVING YOUR SPOUSE
Service basically means that your spouse
has been notified of this divorce. You can not serve the
papers yourself. Options as to how to let your spouse know a
divorce has been filed are:
Option 1 - Sheriff's office hands your spouse the papers
for a fee. The Sheriff's Office will provide you with a Return of
Service (proof they have served the papers) once they have served
them. It is your responsibility to file this original return of
service as soon as possible, with the court.
2 - Private process server hands your spouse the papers for a
fee. The private process server may use the back page of the
summons for a return of Service. It is your responsibility to
file this original Return of Service as soon as possible with the
WAIVER AND ACCEPTANCE OF SERVICE
If the Respondent is willing to accept
service of the Summons and the Petition, the Respondent must sign the
back side of the Summons (waiver) before a Notary. It is
unnecessary to serve the Respondent through the Sheriff's office or
private server if the Respondent is willing to accept the service and
sign the waiver.
WHAT IF I CAN NOT FIND THE
You must try very hard to find the
respondent. After you have tried to locate the respondent and you
are still unable to obtain personal service, you may file a verified
motion requesting an order for service by publication (and pay a fee
for the publication).
The Respondent may file a response to the
petition and pay a $116.00 fee.
You may ask the court to enter orders
regarding property to take effect while the divorce is pending.
Any motions must be sent to the opposing party and you must complete a
certificate of mailing to be filed with your motion.
If you have been married for ten or
more years each party must complete and file with the Court an
Affidavit with Respect to Financial Affairs. It must contain
current information. If any information changes prior to your
final hearing date you need to let the Court know by filing an amended
affidavit. Sign the document before a notary or have a court
clerk witness your signature.
You may obtain a divorce without a
hearing only if 1) there are no minor children of the marriage; 2) the
wife is not pregnant; 3) there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact; and 4) if needed there is a written separation agreement
indicating the division of property, debts, and maintenance, if
The form asks the court to enter you
Decree WITHOUT appearing for a court hearing. Both parties should
sign the affidavit. Be sure to have your signatures wither
witnessed by a clerk or notarized.
If only one party is available to sign
the affidavit then you must wait until 30 days has passed from when the
other party was served the divorce papers. Then complete the
affidavit, sign it, (notarized or witnessed) and mail a copy to the
other party in your case. Make sure to complete the certificate
of mailing on the back of the form.
Be prepared to provide the following
information when you contact the court for a hearing:
- Case number
- Date petition was filed if you filed
- Date the summons was served on your
spouse or the date a waiver of service was signed
If you filed as petitioner/co-petitioner,
you need to wait as least a week after you file for your divorce to
call the Magistrates clerk and get a court date. (970-257-3691)
If you filed as petitioner and respondent
you need to wait until you have served the respondent. The
respondent has 20 days to file a response if served in state and 30
days if served out of state. AFTER THAT TIME HAS PASSED:
- If no response has been filed you can
call the Magistrate's clerk to set a non-contested hearing (
- If a response has been filed do not
call the court. The case will be reviewed and the court will send
you an order directing you to participate in mediation. Follow
the instructions on the mediation order. Once you have gone to
- If agreed on all aspects of your case,
call the Magistrate's clerk to set a hearing (970-257-3691)
- If you still do not agree on all
issues in your case a hearing will be necessary. Parties must
file a Consent to Appear before the Magistrate, or if the parties do
not consent to have a magistrate hear the case, you must call the
judge's division to which your case has been assigned.
If you and your spouse agree on some or
all of the issues, prepare a Separation Agreement. You may use
the printed form or use your own written agreement. The purpose
of the agreement is to provide for the division of any property that
has not already been divided. Even if you do not agree on all
issues, use this form to give your information to the court before the
hearing on the permanent orders.
NOTE: the only way the court will accept
the documents you filed as an agreement is if BOTH parties' signatures
are notarized or witness by the clerk.
A common mistake that the courts see
which may delay your case evolves around separation agreements and the
checkmarks that are made in box 4 and 5 on your Affidavit for Decree
without Appearance of Parties. If you have no property to be
divided and there are no marital debts- you want to place a checkmark
ONLY in the first box of section 4 and then you do not prepare a
separation agreement; you are telling the court you have no property or
debt and therefore you do not have anything to agree upon.
If you have already divided your property
and see no need to put it in writing that is acceptable. If that
is the case then you should place a checkmark ONLY in the first box of
If you do have marital property or debts
and file with the court a written agreement then you must place a
checkmark in the second and third box in section 4 along with the first
box in section 5.
If you are appearing before the
Magistrate, your Decree will be completed for you. If you are
appearing before a judge you will need to purchase a Decree, complete
the caption, and file with the court. Decree forms are included
in the pre-made packets available at the Mesa County Justice Center.
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