GENERAL INFORMATION

Mesa County Combined Courts
PO Box 20,000-5030
Grand Junction Co 81502
970-257-3640
www.courts.state.co.us

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 judicial action.

 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. 

90 DAYS -  the amount of time one wife or husband must be a resident of Colorado

before a divorce action can be filed in this state.

6 MONTHS - the amount of time children must have lived in this state before Colorado has the right to determine custody

90 DAYS - the minimum time which must pass, after a divorce action is filed and served, before final orders can enter. 

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 www.courts.state.co.us .

 

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 process:

  • Both you and your spouse may sign the Petition as Petitioner and Co-petitioner.  
OR
  • 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 process.   

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.

           Option 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 court. 

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 RESPONDENT

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 any. 

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 together

OR

  • 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 ( 970-257-3691)
  • 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 mediation:
  • 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 section 4.

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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