What Will Happen at the Initial Status Conference if the Respondent Doesn’t File a Response?

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Even at the best of times, the dissolution of a marriage is a painful and messy process. If your spouse is unwilling to make a good-faith effort to participate in divorce proceedings, things can progress quickly from bad to worse. Handling the emotional upheaval and legal headaches associated with any divorce can feel stressful and isolating, but there’s no reason for you to shoulder it all yourself. An experienced and compassionate family lawyer can offer certainty and peace of mind in the midst of even the most complicated divorce.

At Halligan LLC, we are devoted to providing all of our clients with personalized attention, financial transparency, and proactive communication. When you hire us, you’ll receive unwavering dedication from a team of professional Colorado natives focused exclusively on family law and divorce. To learn more about how we can help relieve the pressures you face in light of your pending divorce, call us today at (720) 608-2361 to schedule an initial consultation.

The Initial Status Conference

After an individual in Colorado initiates divorce proceedings by filing a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage, the court will usually schedule an Initial Status Conference (ISC) within approximately 40 days. If you are the Petitioner in your case, the date for your ISC may even be scheduled before your spouse is served with divorce papers. An ISC is the first court date set in most family law cases, and attendance is mandated by law, even though the meeting is not an official hearing.

The ISC is a very informal meeting, the purpose of which is for the Court to know where the parties are at in the case, what deadlines have been met and are still outstanding, whether any experts will be needed, etc. During an ISC, which will generally last no more than twenty minutes, both parties have the opportunity to present any potential divorce- or settlement-related issues to the judge, or more often to a family court facilitator. The ISC isn’t an opportunity to actually argue issues, just to identify the issues that need to be worked through such as parenting time, division of assets, etc.

This gives the court a more thorough idea of the matters that need to be addressed and allows the judge or facilitator to establish a schedule for the remainder of the proceedings. Neither detailed testimony nor evidence is permitted at the ISC, and it is typically not a formal hearing in which the Court will enter orders on disputed issues.

In rare cases, the court may authorize emergency orders during the ISC; however, the parties must be notified in advance that the ISC will deal with such issues. The court may also schedule a Temporary Orders Hearing to make interim orders on issues like child support, spousal maintenance, and visitation that will be in place until permanent orders are issued during a final hearing (or in a final settlement). There is a minimum 90-day waiting period in Colorado between the time the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed and the time a judge will sign a Divorce Decree (formally named “Decree of Dissolution of Marriage”) to dissolve that marriage, but it’s common for divorce proceedings to take as long as four to nine months.

When a Respondent Fails to File a Response

After you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, your spouse will need to be served with a notice of your intent to begin divorce proceedings. Once they receive the notification, they generally have 30 days to respond. Sometimes, a spouse may try to avoid the serving process entirely. If this happens, you may need to request more time from the court to serve the spouse.

If your spouse is served with the Petition and continues to be uncooperative, a default hearing may be set. In a default hearing, the spouse who neglects or refuses to participate in the proceedings essentially gives up their rights to a trial. This includes waiving their right to have a say in settlement or parenting decisions.

During a default hearing, you will present the judge with a completed proposed orders that outline your preferred arrangements for things like asset division, support, child custody, and visitation. After the judge signs off on the decree, your marriage will be officially dissolved.

It’s a good idea to have an attorney present for each step of the divorce process. A skilled family law advocate can help ensure that your rights are protected and your actions are legally compliant. Not to mention, your spouse could change their mind about their involvement in the proceedings at any time, possibly leading to a contested divorce. If this happens, the dissolution of your marriage may take much longer, and the assistance of a seasoned legal representative will be invaluable.

Call Halligan LLC Family Law Practice Today

No matter how your Colorado divorce progresses, Halligan LLC is here to help. Our team has handled divorce cases of all kinds, including complex situations involving high-value assets and business interests. We’ll assist you with every aspect of your divorce, from understanding the full extent of your options to aggressively advocating for your rights in court.

Our goal is to make sure you reach a favorable outcome that provides appropriate support for you and your children, so you can move forward and move on. We care about each and every case we take on, and we recognize our responsibility to get it right for all of our clients and their families. Call us at (720) 608-2361 or contact us online to schedule your initial case evaluation today. We can help protect what you value most.

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