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What Is an Initial Status Conference?

May 6, 2024 | Family Law

An initial status conference is an essential step in a Colorado divorce. Many divorcing couples get a preview of the divorce case at this point in the case. An experienced family lawyer in Boulder from Stahly Mehrtens Miner LLC can guide you through this step and all other steps in a Colorado divorce. Here is what you need to know about initial status conferences and what to expect at them.

Basics of Initial Status Conferences

The initial status conference is a party’s first appearance in their case. This appearance occurs within 40 days of the filing of the divorce petition. It is held before a judge or court facilitator, depending on the division and county where your case is filed. The conference’s purpose is for the court to better understand the case and what it involves, which may not be possible to discern from the divorce petition. It also allows the court to schedule future dates in the case.

Ideally, the initial status conference occurs after the other spouse has been served with the divorce paperwork. The conference can still occur even if that doesn’t happen, but there will be an additional conference set up after the spouse is served.

The court issues a case management order when the case is filed, as required by Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 16. This order explains that the parties must meet and confer before they return to court, so the parties must try to resolve the case out of court before they can request the court to schedule a hearing to resolve contested issues. The case management order may also require the parties to provide financial disclosures or prepare child support worksheets before the initial status conference so these matters can be discussed at the conference.

Initial status conferences are not hearings, so no witnesses, evidence, or testimony are taken. These conferences tend to last 15 minutes or less. Initial status conferences, case management orders, and other parts of the Colorado divorce process are designed to make the process as efficient and amicable as possible.

After the Initial Status Conference

What happens at the initial status conference depends on the particular case. The court may do any of the following:

  • Set dates for future conferences
  • Submit status updates
  • Create temporary or permanent orders
  • Order parents to participate in a parenting class

If the court creates orders, it is essential that you have qualified legal representation. A family law attorney can advise you and help prepare such orders. It can be difficult to amend these down the line, so it is vital that your position is properly explained to the court.

At the conclusion of the status conference, you may have a better understanding of your spouse’s position on the various legal matters involved in your divorce case and can better prepare for the next steps.

Contact a Knowledgeable Family Lawyer for Help with Your Initial Status Conference

Initial status conferences represent an important step in your divorce process. They can result in orders that continue to affect your case, so it is essential that you have legal representation. Contact Stahly Mehrtens Miner LLC today to learn how we can help.

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