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Denver Family Law Blog

COVID-19 and Pro Se Litigants in Colorado

In these uncertain times, it’s difficult to know how the COVID-19 pandemic and related government shutdown orders might affect your divorce, parental visitation, or other family law case. It’s especially challenging if you are a pro se litigant, in which case you must search for updated information on court operations on your own while also trying to represent yourself in your case.

However, you don’t have to face this all on your own. At Halligan LLC, we’re here to stand by your side and help you get the best possible outcome for your case. Our knowledgeable family law attorneys have the depth of experience in Colorado family law needed to help you get the information you need in order to make the best possible choices for your family and your future.

When you choose Halligan LLC, we’ll handle all the details of your case for you, so you can focus on getting on the road to recovery. You can trust that our respected team will do all we can to help you navigate this confusing and stressful situation and help you get the results that count.

If you are considering representing yourself or you’re already trying to tackle a Colorado family law case as a pro se litigant, contact Halligan LLC right away to see how our skilled and caring lawyers can help you. To schedule your initial consultation, call Halligan LLC today at (720) 608-2361 or fill out our quick online form.

What Do Changes to Court Operations Due to the Pandemic Mean for my Case?

According to the latest announcements on Colorado court operations, courts across the state have suspended most in-person trials and meetings, except in emergency situations. For example, in Denver County in particular, district courts have suspended in-person appearances for the majority of criminal, civil, and domestic relations cases.

Nonetheless, most people with an existing court date must still “appear” over the phone or video conferencing at their scheduled time. While this might seem like a simple order in normal circumstances, it can be an unreasonable task in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

News sources and internet searches provide confusing and sometimes conflicting information on court operations and appearance requirements. Part of the reason for this confusion is that certain court procedures and policies differ state-by-state. Even within Colorado, court operations might vary across districts (and even across individual judicial officers) in the state because Colorado’s Chief Justice has given judicial officers discretion on how they handle proceedings in their specific court in the midst of coronavirus.

Furthermore, although some hearings are proceeding on the originally scheduled date, the courts have delayed many cases of all types due to reduced staff and operations since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For now, it’s best for anyone with a scheduled hearing to contact their attorney or the local court to ensure they know the proper date and participation instructions for their specific hearing.

What Can I Do to Advance My Child Custody or Divorce Case During COVID-19?

There are a number of steps you can take to advance your divorce case or other family law matter during the coronavirus pandemic. Even in normal circumstances, many people involved in divorce proceedings do the majority of this work remotely.

While many clerk’s offices remain closed to in-person appointments across Colorado, many of the forms you need to begin a divorce or custody case are available online. For example, the forms for Denver can be found here. Attorneys and in some districts, authorized pro se parties, can file these documents electronically, while other self-represented litigants can submit their documents by mail. Some districts may be accepting in person filings.

Other actions you or your lawyer can take to help your case advance during COVID-19 include:

  • Gathering evidence regarding debts and assets the court might consider as marital or separate property;
  • Attending meetings over video or phone for mediation or to try to negotiate a settlement on matters like property division and child custody;
  • Responding to “discovery” questions from your spouse’s legal representatives; and
  • Drafting and submitting agreements to the court.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney for My Case?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially critical for anyone dealing with a divorce or child custody case to work with an experienced attorney. If you are trying to tackle a family law matter on your own, it can seem near impossible to find the information you need on your case, such as whether you must appear in court, when your hearing is, and where you need to go for your case.

Many pro se litigants had court dates that were originally scheduled at the beginning of the government shutdown but were rescheduled while Colorado courts tried to figure out how to operate in the midst of the pandemic. For others, they might think they know the date of their hearing, but they don’t have information on where or how to appear.

However, if you work with a skilled family law attorney, they will help make sure you don’t miss your hearing (and/or deadlines for the same) by figuring out your court date for you and helping ensure you have the tools you need to participate.

Your lawyer can also handle many other aspects of your case. For example, your lawyer can fill out any required paperwork and court documents and make sure they are filed on time. They can also gather evidence to support your side of the case and contact witnesses if needed.

Additionally, a skilled family law attorney can negotiate settlements on your behalf, and they can stand up for your best interests in court.

Talk to a Denver Pro Se Lawyer Today

If you’re facing a divorce or other family law matter, contact Halligan LLC, and let us fight for your rights. To get started, call us today at (720) 608-2361 or contact us online, and schedule your initial case evaluation.