What is the Child Custody Process in Colorado?

What is the Child Custody Process in Colorado?

Going through a divorce when you share children can be scary and overwhelming. Understanding the process for your child custody case can help you prepare for what is ahead and keep your mind at ease. If you need help with the child custody process in Colorado, speak with one of our caring family attorneys who could help determine the next steps throughout your case.

Initial Status Conference During a Child Custody Case

The first step after you file your petition for allocation for parental responsibilities and service is complete on the other party is the Initial Status Conference (ISC). The ISC is usually the first time where the parties meet in the courthouse. At the ISC, the parties are given dates and deadlines for their case.

The court also describes to the parties when their financials are due, by what date an expert needs to be appointed, and when formal discovery is due. Both petitioner and respondent also will have the chance to request a Temporary Orders Hearing if they feel they need one. If neither party asks for a Temporary Orders Hearing, the Court reserves the ability to ask for a Temporary Orders Hearing at a later date.

Settlement Conferences and Temporary Orders Hearings in Colorado

When a party to a child custody case asks for a Temporary Orders Hearing, the Court requires the parties to first participate in a Settlement Conference. A Settlement Conference is similar to mediation without the mediator. At a Settlement Conference, the parties must talk, in good-faith, about the issues related to the Temporary Orders Hearing.

The Temporary Orders Hearing, is usually the first real hearing the parties will have in a child custody or visitation case. Generally, at the Temporary Orders Hearing, the parties make decisions on temporary parenting, child support, spousal maintenance, division of debts, and who stays in the home. It is important to note that any decisions may during these proceedings are not final. After the Temporary Orders Hearing, the parties schedule for Mediation.

Mediation During a Custody Decision

In child custody mediation, the parties are in separate rooms with the mediator going back and forth discussing the issues. Usually, the parties do not see each other at all.

If the parties come to any agreements at Mediation, the agreement will be written up into a document called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The goal of mediation is to come to agreements to either avoid a Final Orders Hearing or at least minimize the issues before the case reaches its final stages. Therefore, if the parties still have remaining issues after Mediation, they will have to have a contested Final Orders Hearing.

Final Orders Hearing in Colorado

The Final Orders Hearing is the actual hearing where both parties argue their positions and the judge makes a ruling related to parenting time and child support.

If you are going through a child custody case, contact the family lawyers at Springs Law Group to help. We are here to help you through the child custody process in Colorado.