There are many steps to a divorce case in Colorado. The final stage is the Permanent Orders Hearing. During this conclusive hearing, the judge reviewing the divorce will make the final determinations concerned marital asset and debt division. The judge will also determine maintenance awards, such as spousal support or alimony. If the divorcing couple has children, the judge will also make a decision concerning parenting times, custody, child support, and each parent’s ability to make major decisions for the children. Depending on the situation and each divorcing spouse’s behavior, the judge may also rule on one party’s obligation to pay the other party’s legal fees.
The determinations made in a Permanent Orders Hearing are final and binding, and these hearings can sometimes last several days before reaching a conclusion. Once the Permanent Orders Hearing is complete and the judge puts his or her final orders in writing, the court will issue a decree of dissolution and formally end the marriage.
Preparing for the Permanent Orders Hearing
The Permanent Orders Hearing happens after all other proceedings in the divorce case. Divorces in Colorado can be complex, especially if there is bad blood between the divorcing spouses. Unfortunately, some divorcing couples act harshly out of spite and anger, escalating divorce proceedings to contentious levels. The first step in starting the divorce process is one or both spouses filing a petition for dissolution. If the couple mutually agrees to the divorce, has little shared property, no children, and both spouses agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the divorce may proceed much more quickly than more-complex contentious divorces or divorces involving vast assets or children.
Each spouse should secure a family law attorney to navigate the process. Each spouse will need to compile a great deal of documentation to establish ownership of shared property and assets as well as evidence of their individual financial security. The divorcing spouses may also need to supply evidence supporting their claims to full or majority custody of the couple’s children. Eventually, the divorce case will resolve all these issues, and the Permanent Orders Hearing is simply a formal end to the case in which the judge makes an official ruling on all the elements of the couple’s divorce.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
In some divorce cases, all the questions concerning Colorado child support, custody, division of assets and debts, and spousal support are already resolved before the Permanent Orders Hearing. If the divorcing couple files a full agreement, they can avoid needing to appear for a Permanent Orders Hearing. However, in any divorce case involving children or one spouse without legal counsel, the divorcing couple will need to appear for an uncontested Permanent Orders Hearing. During this hearing, the court will review the agreement to determine if it is in the best interest of the children and fair to the unrepresented spouse.
Even if a divorce case appears straightforward at first, it can quickly escalate into a complicated legal battle. Both sides in a divorce deserve and should secure reliable legal representation, so anyone considering divorce in Colorado should reach out to a family law attorney as soon as possible. Filing for divorce and gathering all the required evidence and documentation can seem daunting, and reliable, experienced family law attorneys will make the process much more bearable for everyone involves.