Throughout the legal process, what you should expect is that there’s going to be a number of hearings that are going to be set, which you can attend and have your lawyer attend with you. The judge, by the rules, is not allowed to give you legal advice. A lot of people don’t know this. Judges cannot sit on the bench and when someone says to the judge, “Judge, what should I be paying her each month to pay for these bills?” Or “Should I accept her offer or reject her offer?” You’re not going to get legal advice from a judge. Judges aren’t allowed to do that.
What you can expect from the Colorado courts is that there’s going to be a process and a proceeding. If it’s a divorce case you’re not going to be able to get divorced until 92 days has passed from the date that one of the parties was served. In the meantime, that means that the courts are going to expect full compliance with the financial disclosure laws. Oftentimes these are very time-consuming. They involve the collection of pay records, tax records, bank records, credit card statements. There’s a long list of things that you’re going to need to bring. That’s an expectation you should have and that a judge is going to read those things when you come to a hearing.
The court is going to set an initial status conference in your case which is going to be a roadmap to the future. The court’s going to tell you when do I have to take the parenting class? When do I have to produce my pay stubs? The court’s going to tell you if formal discovery is going to be allowed, so you can expect that kind of an order from the court.
You can also expect the court in family law cases if the parties wish, either one of the parties may ask for a temporary orders hearing. Which means early in the case before the case is finally resolved, that the court can give you a temporary orders that will set the tone for the rest of the case. I get a lot of those kinds of cases where there’s children involved because the parties have been unable to work out a parenting plan. They need the court to step in and enter some temporary orders. I had one such case where one of the parents had a severe drug addiction and the other parent did not want the child to see the parent with the drug addiction. That resulted in a temporary orders hearing. Those are the kinds of hearings where someone can say, “I need child support. I need maintenance and I can’t wait for the case to become final.”
What you can expect from the courts here is that if cases are not resolved, meaning agreements are not reached, that the court will order you to go to mediation and participate in good faith. That means that you just can’t show up and say, “Okay, I showed up.” and walk out. That means you have to really try to resolve your differences.
What you can come to expect from Colorado courts is that when you walk into a courtroom, our judges are among the most qualified judges in the country. They are extremely well-trained. They have varied backgrounds. They’ve heard thousands of these cases during the course of their career and that when you walk in their court they’re going to treat you fairly. They’re going to be honest with you. They’re going to treat you with respect in listening to your testimony.