Judges generally prefer that the parties negotiate and settle their differences and reach agreement on matters involved in a divorce. The parties may do this by completing a Separation Agreement and filing it with the court for review and approval. So long as the agreement is fair to both parties and meets the statutory requirements, the court will usually approve it and make it the order of the court.
The Colorado Supreme Court provides form separation agreements that the parties may use. The basic agreement is form JDF 1115 (click on the form number to view and download).
The form agreement may be used to set forth what both parties have agreed upon or, if no agreement, then as a proposal by one of the parties.
Topics in a basic separation agreement are:
- Assets (list of property with division between the parties)
- Debts (list of debts and who is responsible to pay them)
- Taxes (unpaid taxes, if any, and who will pay them)
- Maintenance (Alimony, Spousal Support)
- Other (agreements made that do not fall within the main topics listed above)
The separation agreement does not deal with child custody, parenting time or support: these topics are set forth in a Parenting Plan agreed upon by the parties, usually filed with the court at the same time the separation agreement is filed. The Parenting Plan form is JDF 1113 (click on the form number to view and download).
Family Law Attorneys may use the form Separation Agreement provided by the Supreme Court or a more detailed and expansive document prepared in their offices. If the case is complex, a detailed and expansive agreement is used to set forth the settlement terms and conditions.
If both parties are represented by legal counsel, the Separation Agreement and all other necessary documents to complete the divorce case are usually filed with the court electronically for the court’s approval and entry of the divorce decree adopting the agreements as orders of the court without the need for the parties to appear in court. If either party is not represented by counsel and there are children involved, then the parties must appear in court to testify regarding the proposed agreements. At the hearing, the court will review the agreements and, if in proper form and determined to be fair to each party, will approve them and enter the divorce decree.
When there is no agreement, the court conducts a contested Permanent Orders hearing to hear the evidence and arguments of both parties on the issues, make findings of fact, enter final orders and issue a decree of dissolution of the marriage based upon the evidence presented and Colorado law.
The information provided above is general in nature, is not intended as legal advice for your particular situation and should not be relied upon without first consulting with legal counsel.