Facing Divorce Papers in Colorado

April 13, 2024

Getting served with divorce papers can be a life-altering experience, leaving you overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed. But don't panic! This blog post from Johnson Law Group, your team of trusted Colorado family law attorneys, will equip you with the essential steps to navigate the initial stages of your divorce case.

Step 1: Breathe and Review the Documents Carefully manilla folder with divorce papers inside

The initial shock might cloud your judgment. Take a deep breath and allow yourself some time to process the situation. Once you've composed yourself, carefully review the documents you received. These might include a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage outlining your spouse's requests regarding property division, spousal support (alimony), and child custody (if applicable).

Understanding the details of the Petition is crucial, but resist the urge to react impulsively. Divorce is a complex legal process, and rash decisions can have negative consequences.

Long-Term Consequences, Short-Term Decisions

Decisions made without legal counsel can inadvertently weaken your legal standing. For example, prematurely emptying bank accounts or disposing of assets could raise red flags regarding financial disclosure. Responding to the Petition without legal guidance could lead to conceding crucial points or neglecting to assert your rights. A qualified attorney can navigate the legalities, ensuring your actions benefit your case and not inadvertently undermine your position.

Step 2:  Don't Go Through This Alone – Seek Legal Counsel Immediately

Facing a divorce without legal representation is strongly discouraged. Contact Johnson Law Group immediately. Our experienced family law attorneys can meticulously analyze the documents served upon you and provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific situation. We will communicate your legal rights and options, enabling you for informed decision-making throughout the divorce process.

Step 3: Time is of the Essence – Meeting Deadlines is Critical

The Petition will likely have a 21-day deadline (see page 12) for you to respond. Don't wait until the last minute. Missing this deadline can have serious repercussions. Your Johnson Law Group attorney will discuss all relevant deadlines with you and ensure they are met promptly. Missing deadlines can significantly hinder your ability to advocate for a fair and favorable outcome.

Why Deadlines Matter

  • Securing Your Legal Voice: The response to the Petition served upon you is your opportunity to present your side of the story. Missing the deadline to respond signifies to the court that you have no counterarguments or requests regarding spousal support, child custody, or property division. This could result in the court granting your spouse's requests by default, potentially leading to an unfavorable outcome for you.
  • Maintaining Control of the Process: Deadlines dictate the pace and direction of the divorce case. Timely responses allow your attorney to strategically navigate the legalities, potentially propose mediation or negotiation, and advocate for your best interests. Missing deadlines can relinquish control and put you at the mercy of your spouse's timeline and demands.
  • Preserving Your Financial Rights: Financial disclosure and division of marital assets are significant aspects of a Colorado divorce. Deadlines often dictate the timeframe for submitting financial documents. Missing these deadlines could hinder your attorney's ability to fully assess your financial situation and advocate for a fair division of marital assets and debts.

Step 4: Your Voice Matters – Respond to the Petition

The response to the Petition is your opportunity to be heard. You can inform the court of your desires through your attorney. This is your chance to present your side of the story and advocate for what's important to you.

  • Contesting or Accepting the Requests: Review your spouse’s wishes and contest any requests you disagree with. Through your attorney, you can outline your desired outcome in these areas.
  • Negotiation or Litigation: The response doesn't necessarily signify the start of a courtroom battle. It opens the door for negotiation or mediation, where both parties try to reach an agreeable settlement with the guidance of a neutral third party. Your attorney can assist you through these options.
  • What to Avoid: Don't admit fault in your response. Focus on outlining your desired outcome. Avoid emotional outbursts or accusatory language. Let your attorney handle the legalities and communication with your spouse's lawyer.

Step 5: Start Gathering Important Documents

Your Johnson Law Group attorney will require various documents to represent you effectively. Begin collecting financial documents. This includes: 

  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Investment statements
  • Debt documentation: credit card statements, loan agreements
  • Child-related records: birth certificates, school records, medical records

Having this documentation readily available will expedite the legal process. This allows for a more accurate assessment of your income, assets, and debts, which forms the basis for negotiations, mediation, or even litigation.

Additional Tips and Resources


  • Don't Remove Children from the State or Dispose of Assets: Colorado law (C.R.S. 14-10-107(4)(b)(I)(C)) prohibits these actions during a pending divorce case.
  • Separate Finances (Optional): Consider opening separate bank accounts to track your individual income and expenses.
  • Be Cautious on Social Media: Make sure to avoid posting anything inflammatory or disrespectful about your spouse or the divorce proceedings.
  • Prioritize Self-Care: Divorce can be emotionally draining. Focus on your mental and physical well-being.


Johnson Law Group: Here to Fight for Your Rights

Divorce can be a challenging time, but you don't have to go through it alone. Johnson Law Group's compassionate and highly skilled family law attorneys are here for you every step of the way. We understand the emotional strain of divorce, and we're here to help you navigate the legal complexities effectively. You can reach us at 720-445-4444 or schedule a FREE consultation online today.

Tune in to Family Law Attorney Timothy Dudley's video below!

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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
Divorce doesn’t have to be dramatic. For the litigants, losing your spouse is significant enough. But you can choose the way it affects your daily life. The only guarantee I can give is that the feeling that you have right now will not be the feeling you end with. This is a season in your life, and it must be approached that way.
Our experience, dedication to Colorado families, and our success in each case we represent sets us apart from the competition. We are passionate about family and estate law. Our highly-qualified team will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible results in your case.


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