Divorce/Child Custody Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Q: I am afraid of my spouse and am concerned that he or she may hurt me or our children physically and/or emotionally, what can I do to protect myself or our children?
A: Immediately call 911 or the police if you believe you or your children are in danger and then call an attorney who specializes in the area of divorces and/or restraining/protection orders to see what other civil options you may have if the police are unable, or unwilling, to act to protect you or your children. You may also be able to call Social Services to see whether they can utilize other enforcement mechanisms to help protect your children (See Restraining/Protection Order section for questions about Restraining/Protection Order FAQS).
Q: I am thinking about getting a divorce, what should I be thinking about before I file the case?
A: You should obtain a credit report for yourself in order to see what kind of accounts you and/or your spouse has, or has had, in your names. In addition to obtaining a credit report, you should try to obtain any and all other documents or evidence, including but not limited to: any and all bank account statements (checking and savings), check registers, cancelled checks, credit card statements, monthly bill statements, tax returns (and relevant tax documentation 1099s, W-9s), pay stubs, end of year statements, corporate documents (Articles of Incorporation, Partnership Agreements, etc), retirement account statements, investment account statements, pension, health and life insurance, wills or trusts, mortgage statements and information, appraisals, market analysis, property assessments. You will even want to see if you can get these documents and/or statements which reference any accounts just prior to the date of marriage as well.
Q: What other documents or information will I need to review before filing a divorce or child custody case?
A: Other documentation you will want copies of include, but are not limited to:
prenuptial agreements, police reports, Social Services reports, school records, IEP reports, contracts (employment, debt or other liabilities, etc ), computer files, drug test results, immigration documentation and other legal cases (past, present or possible in the future, i.e. criminal cases against either party, dependency and neglect cases, etc).
You should get the SIGNED copies of any and all documents (in addition to any incomplete or draft copies of the documents) as you cannot rely on your spouse to provide these documents under the Rules of Civil Procedure especially if the documents are favorable for you.
Q: Do I have to get a divorce if a divorce case is filed?
A: Not necessarily. If both parties agree to dismiss the divorce or child custody case, they can file a Stipulated Motion to Dismiss the case and the Court will likely approve the parties' Stipulated Motion to Dismiss and dismiss the case if there are no other objections.
Q: What if I am not sure whether I want to proceed on the divorce/child custody case because I am trying to reconcile with the other party?
A: There is a chance you can file a Motion for Stay which, if granted by the Court, could suspend any deadlines and requirements in the case for a period of time. There is no guarantee that the Court will allow for a stay of the proceedings or will allow a Stay for a lengthy period of time.
Q: My spouse was cheating on me with another person, how does that affect the divorce case?
A: Because Colorado is a "no fault" state, the Court cannot take into consideration "marital fault" in making orders in the divorce case. The exception to this rule is that you can show that your spouse spent marital funds or wasted marital property on his or her extramarital affair, the Court could consider the "economic fault" of the parties in dividing the assets and/or debts in the case.