Should I File a Response to a Petition for Divorce in Colorado?
If you are served with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Summons for Dissolution of Marriage in Colorado, you are considered the Respondent. The Petition is the document your spouse has filed with the Court to initiate divorce proceedings. The Petition provides the Court with factual information regarding your marriage and your spouse’s requests for “relief,” which include the division of marital property and debts, spousal support, and Court Orders regarding any children of the marriage. While you may not agree with everything in the Petition, you have an opportunity to file a response to address your concerns.
Understanding the Importance of Filing a Response
In Colorado, you are required to file a Response (JDF 1103) within 21 days of being personally served or from the date you sign a Waiver of Service. If your spouse has filed for divorce in Colorado, and you live in another state, you have 35 days to file your Response. The process involves paying the applicable court filing fee of $116.00.
Why File a Response?
The Response is your chance to agree or disagree with the information presented in the Petition. It also notifies the Court that you intend to actively participate in your divorce case. This is crucial because, upon being served with the Petition and Summons, you are subject to the Automatic Temporary Injunction that takes effect upon the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
The Injunction is a list of actions you cannot take during the divorce proceedings without your spouse’s agreement or permission from the Court. Actively participating in your divorce can help you avoid inadvertently violating the Automatic Temporary Injunction.
Consequences of Not Filing a Response
Choosing not to file a Response could lead to the Court entering Orders against you, compelling your response. Your spouse may also request Default Orders. In this scenario, the Court and your spouse may decide how to divide your marital assets and debts, determine parenting time, calculate support payments, and more, without your input. By not filing a Response, you are effectively handing over control of your future to your spouse.
Pre and Postnuptial Agreements
You may be wondering about the implications of having a pre or postnuptial agreement in this situation. Even if you have such an agreement, if the Petitioner does not provide the Court with a copy (for instance, if it is unfavorable for the Petitioner), then the Court would proceed with the default orders requested by the Petitioner since they have no knowledge of the agreement. However, if the Petitioner does provide the Court with the pre/postnup, then the agreement could be used as a guide for dividing assets.
The Simplicity of Filing a Response
The good news is that filing a Response in Colorado is not a difficult process. Your spouse has already done most of the legwork by filing the Petition. Filing a Response does not lock you into agreeing to any final terms of your divorce. It merely sets the stage for your active involvement in the proceedings and ensures that your voice is heard.
Take control of your divorce by filing a Response today. By doing so, you can protect your rights, ensure fair treatment, and actively participate in shaping the outcome of your divorce.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What is the timeframe for filing a Response in Colorado? You must file a Response within 21 days of being personally served or from the date you sign a Waiver of Service. If you reside in another state and your spouse filed for divorce in Colorado, you have 35 days to respond.
- Do I have to pay a fee when filing a Response? Yes, there is an applicable court filing fee of $116.00 when submitting your Response.
- Can I disagree with the information presented in the Petition? Yes, the Response allows you to agree or disagree with the content of the Petition.
- What is the Automatic Temporary Injunction? It is a list of actions you cannot take during the divorce proceedings without your spouse’s agreement or permission from the Court.
- Can I still file a Response if we have a pre or postnuptial agreement? Yes, filing a Response is separate from any pre or postnuptial agreement, and it enables you to assert your rights during the divorce process.