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DIY LEGAL SEPARATION

HOW TO FILE FOR A LEGAL SEPARATION IN COLORADO

 

Beginning the Process in Colorado

This guide will help you identify your specific path within the Do-It-Yourself Divorce Series. Once you've determined your starting point, you'll find a comprehensive breakdown of the forms you need to file. Our goal is to streamline your journey, prevent common errors, and provide expert tips to ensure each form is accurately and confidently completed.

Step 1: Determine Your Situation

Determine in which county you will file in. If you have children, file the petition in the county where the children live. If you don't have children, file the petition in the county that you live. 

 

Identify your role as a petitioner, respondent, or co-petitioner, and whether you have minor children. This will determine the appropriate forms. 

  • "Petitioner" - person who files the divorce petition

  • "Respondent" - person who is served with the divorce petition. 

  • "Co-Petitioner" - person who signs the divorce petition jointly along with the petitioner. 

 

Step 2: Complete the Required Forms

  • Petitioner with or without Minor Children:

Take the completed forms to the Clerk of the District Court in your county. Pay the filing fee or apply for a fee waiver if eligible. The court will issue the "Case Management Order" within a day or two after filing. Review the Case Management Order in full and follow all instructions contained therein. 

** You will be scheduled for an Initial Status Conference within 42 days of your filing. Sometimes the court files the Notice of Initial Status Conference, and sometimes the court makes the petitioner file the Notice of Initial Status Conference. 

Step 3: Serve the Forms:

If you're the Petitioner, you must serve the filed forms to the Respondent. Use appropriate service methods as per Colorado law. Alternatively, you can ask your spouse to sign a "Waiver and Acceptance of Service." JDF 1102(a). If your spouse is unwilling to waive service, then follow the steps below and file JDF 1102(b)

  • Find a process server. You can choose: 

    • The Sheriff, 

    • A professional process server, or

    • An adult (over 18) who is not involved in this case and knows how to serve. 

  •  Give the process server an address where the Respondent can be found. 

  •  Give the process server copies of the above papers (2A, 2B, 2C). 

  •  The process server gives copies of these papers to the Respondent. 

  •  The process server will fill out and sign the Proof of Service. 

  •  You must then file the Proof of Service at the Court Clerk's office. 

Step 4: File a Response

  • Respondent to file: 

    • JDF 1103 - Response to the Petition for Divorce or Legal Separation

If you are the Respondent, you need to file a Response to the Petition for Legal Separation. When a Motion or a Petition is filed, you need to file a Response to let the court know what your position is, and what you want the court to do. 

A Response to the Petition for Legal Separation must be filed within 21 days after service or after you signed the Waiver of Service. However, if you were served outside of the state of Colorado, you have 35 days to respond to the Petition. 

Step 5: Financial Disclosures

Both parties exchange financial disclosures and file the Sworn Financial Statement, Supporting Schedules (if needed), and the Certificate of Compliance within 42 days of service of process. This is a mandatory step to ensure transparency.

  • JDF 1111 SC - Sworn Financial Statement (Both Parties must complete separately)

  • JDF 1111 SS - Supporting Schedules (Both Parties must complete separately)

  • JDF 1104 - Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Financial Disclosures (Both Parties must complete separately)

Step 6: Parenting Class

If you have minor children, complete the parenting class required by Colorado law. See the court issued Case Management Order for details for service providers and deadline to complete. Parenting plan Form JDF 1113

 

Step 7: Temporary Orders

If necessary, file a Motion for Temporary Orders with the court to address immediate concerns like child custody, financial support, to prevent spouse from doing something they shouldn't, or for temporary use and possession of the home. Form JDF 1106 

If no agreements are reached, mediation may be mandated prior to scheduling a hearing.

Step 8: Attend Mediation

Mediation is required in all cases involving divorce and the allocation of parental responsibilities. There are few exceptions to this rule. Mediation is required to set a Permanent Orders Hearing. 

The purpose of the mediation is to negotiate all issues related to your legal separation including parenting time, decision-making authority, child support, asset division, and spousal support. Be prepared to negotiate the following issues: 

  • JDF 1115 - Separation Agreement. This document outlines your intentions for the property division, spousal support, and debt management. 

  • JDF 1113 - Parenting Plan. This document outlines the parenting time arrangements, decision-making responsibility, and child support. 

Step 9: Schedule Permanent Orders Hearing

After mediation, schedule and attend the Permanent Orders Hearing. This step is only necessary when the parties do not agree on one or more issues involving the division of assets, parenting plan, child support, or spousal support (aka spousal maintenance, alimony). 

 

Step 10: Finalize the Divorce

Once all issues are resolved, the court will issue a Decree of Legal Separation, finalizing the the legal separation. 

 

Step 11: Download Forms

You can download fillable PDF forms and find instructions tailored to your situation.

JDF 1000 - Case Information Sheet 

JDF 1101 - Petition for Legal Separation

JDF 1102(a) - Waiver and Acceptance of Service 

JDF 1102(b) - Return of Service

JDF1102 - Summons for Legal Separation; if only one person is filing

JDF 1103 - Response to the Petition for Divorce or Legal Separation

JDF 1104 -Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Financial Disclosures

JDF 1106 - Motion for Temporary Orders

JDF 1107 - Motion/Stipulation to Modify Petition (Marriage)

JDF 1111 SC - Sworn Financial Statement (Both Parties must complete separately)

JDF 1111 SS - Supporting Schedules (Both Parties must complete separately)

JDF 1113 - Parenting Plan

JDF 1115 - Property and Financial Agreement ( Separation Agreement)

JDF 1116 - Decree of Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation. This stands as the ultimate decree. Upon court approval, your divorce concludes. If you require an official copy, an additional fee applies.

JDF 1117 Support Order

JDF 1201 Affidavit for Decree without Appearance of Parties. This form states you have reached agreements and no hearing will be needed. Parties submit one document signed together.

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