If you are in the midst of a Colorado Divorce, you may be wondering, when will this all end? The short answer to this question is, it depends. While every case is unique, with unique factors that may delay or expedite the judicial process, every domestic relations case must either come to a mutual agreement, go to a final orders hearing, or be risk being dismissed. A Final Orders Hearing, or Permanent Orders Hearing, is usually set after the parties have scheduled mediation and, depending on the jurisdiction, can be scheduled months out.
What exactly is a Final Orders Hearing? A final orders hearing is an evidentiary hearing where both parties will have the opportunity to present their case to the court, present exhibits and testimony, and request the court make a final determination. The court will issue orders dividing marital assets and debts, allocate parenting time and decision-making, order support if necessary, and issue a decree for dissolution. Depending on the jurisdiction of your case and the facts of your case, you can expect anywhere from 2 hours for a hearing up to a full day. Each party will have an equal amount of time to present their case to the best of their abilities and the court will either issue an oral or written ruling later.
How do I prepare for a Final Orders Hearing? Preparing for the final hearing is crucial for the success of your hearing. You will want to prepare exhibits supporting your position; call witnesses to testify about your exhibits if needed; prepare a legal argument to present to the court; and prepare any cross-examination of the Opposing Party and their witnesses. It’s important to understand that the Colorado courts require pro se (unrepresented) parties to follow the same rules that attorneys are bound to. You may be at a disadvantage if you don’t have a legal background to lean on. Additionally, a final orders hearing will have strict deadlines that you must comply with, or you will risk losing the opportunity to fully present your case to the court.
When do you need to hire an attorney for a final orders hearing? This question again depends on the facts of your case. While some individuals may be able to competently represent their case to the court, it is advisable you retain an attorney for a final hearing. An experienced attorney will defend your rights, fight for your position, and expose any inadequacies of the Opposing Party. Additionally, due to the number of deadlines leading up to the final hearing, you will likely want to retain a family law attorney at least three months in advance of the hearing to allow your attorney to become fully apprised of your case and prepare for the hearing. If you wait too long to retain counsel, you may risk facing a situation where you are unable to obtain counsel or hiring an attorney that won’t be able to fully defend your case. When you consider what is being decided at the Final Orders Hearing, can you afford to not retain an attorney?
Hiring an experienced attorney to defend your rights and protect your assets is so important when preparing for a Final Orders Hearing. The family law team at the Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC has been to numerous final orders hearings and is prepared to zealously advocate for you. Call (719) 328-1616 to book your ½ hour-free consultation today.
Counties serviced: El Paso, Douglas, Denver, Teller, and Pueblo County.