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Why You Need to File Your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Correct Colorado County

Updated: Feb 16

Before starting a divorce or a child custody case in Colorado, you must file in the correct county. Below are some key considerations to help you file a petition for dissolution of marriage in the correct county:

  Why do I have to file in the correct county?

  1. Residency Requirement

  2. Court Docket and Case Management

  3. Local Rules and Procedures

  4. Convenience and Accessibility

  5. Legal Representation

  1.     Residency Requirement: You must meet Colorado’s residency before filing your

petition (initiating paperwork) in Colorado. Either you or your spouse have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days or more. Also, you must select the county where you or your spouse resides. The child(ren) must have been in Colorado at least 182 days before the petition was filed. For a custody matter, you want to file where the child(ren) resides. 

2.     Court Docket and Case Management: Different counties in Colorado may have varying court dockets and case management systems. Some counties may have a backlog of cases, leading to longer wait times for hearings and resolutions. Researching the average processing times and efficiency of the family courts in various counties can help you choose the most suitable option for your case.


3.     Local Rules and Procedures: Although Colorado’s rules and procedures follow a set of rules outlined in the rules of civil procedure, each court in Colorado has its own case management rules to help streamline the case specific to that county. Understanding these rules helps in moving your case along.  


4.     Convenience and Accessibility: Filing your petition in a county that is convenient and accessible to both parties can usually make the process easier. However, after COVID, most courthouses have made virtual appearances available as well. However, again, each courthouse has its own protocols, and even each courtroom (the individual courtrooms in the courthouse) has its own rules for in-person or virtual appearances. 


5.     Legal Representation: Since each courthouse has many nuances, you may want to consider hiring a family law attorney within the county you intend to file.   That attorney should be very familiar with the local rules and case management orders affiliated with that specific courthouse.   


Remember: divorce and custody cases are legal matters that can best be handled by a family law attorney. Consulting with a local family law attorney can definitely help the process go more smoothly rather than trying to figure it all out on your own. 


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