The Custody Process Series, Part 2
In Part 1 of our Custody Process Series, we discussed the preliminaries to filing a new case in Colorado. But once you file, what are the next steps to get it moving forward?
Step 1: Personal Service
After you file your initial paperwork with the Court, you need to “serve” the opposing party with the paperwork. Service of process happens by a neutral third party providing the documents directly to the other party, and then attesting to that in writing. If you are not represented by an attorney, the simplest way to obtain service is through your local Sheriff’s office. If you are represented by an attorney, they will take care of service through whomever they prefer to use.
Step 2: Case Management Order
Soon after you file with the Court, you will receive a “Case Management Order” (CMO) and notice for an “Initial Status Conference” (ISC). These documents also need to be given to the opposing party, if you did not serve them with the initial paperwork. The CMO gives instructions on how the Court expects your case to move forward. It generally gives a list of documents each party needs to complete and file with the Court, including Sworn Financial Statements and proposed parenting plans.
You should begin completing your Sworn Financial Statement, as it is the first document due. Your Sworn Financial Statement should be an accurate reflection of your current financial situation, including your income, expenses, assets, and debts. You need to provide supporting documentation for the statement (e.g. tax returns, paystubs, bank statements), give that to the opposing party, and sign a “Certificate of Compliance” that you completed all these disclosures. After giving it to the opposing party, you then file the Statement and Certificate with the Court.
Step 3: Initial Status Conference
The ISC is an informal appearance where the Court provides the expectations for your case and sets deadlines for its completion. You should budget at least one hour for the ISC, but it is usually less than 30 minutes. Always make sure to arrive early (on time is late) and wear a minimum of business-casual attire. You should bring a notepad, pen, and your calendar too. Sometimes, the final (Permanent Orders) hearing is scheduled at the ISC, which is why you want your calendar. Be sure to silence your cell phone and be attentive in the Courtroom. You do not want to miss any instructions on the next steps in your case. You will also receive an opportunity to ask any questions about next steps and the process.
How can a family law attorney help?
The attorneys at Opfer | Campbell | Beck P.C. handle family law matters, including custody cases, every day. We offer no-cost consultatoins to understand your situation and how a custody case might wok for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out for information or to schedule with one of our attorneys. And for additional information about our family law practice areas, click here. Stay tuned for the next installment of our Custody Process Series!