In March of 2013, the Colorado legislature passed the “Colorado Civil Union Act.” Since that time, legal challenges continue to be pursued arguing that bans against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. In the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, the case of Kitchen v. Herbert, the court ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling impacts Colorado because Colorado is within this federal court’s jurisdiction, Some county court clerks started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the court’s ruling, despite the fact that the court had stayed its decision pending appeal. On July 18, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered these court clerks to cease issuing same-sex marriage licenses until the appeal process has run its course. Ultimately, this issue will be decided by the Supreme Court, either by the high court taking the case, or declining to review the appeals court’s decision.
Individuals entering into a civil union must go through the same dissolution process as married couples. Therefore, the court process starts by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Civil Union. The petition is then personally served on the other party. Soon after the filing of the petition, the court will issue a Case Management Order. The case management order will describe the basic procedures and next steps in your dissolution case in that court. These case management orders vary from court to court, depending on the county your case is in, but there are general similarities. All of the case management orders require some form of “parenting after dissolution” class for couples with children. The case management orders also describe the requirements of Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 16.2, one of the primary rules that governs the dissolution process.
Rule 16.2 standardizes case management for dissolution cases but, nonetheless, the process can vary significantly depending on the county where your case has been filed. Generally, the major events in an average dissolution case are listed below, and each link provides you with some additional information concerning each step:
- Petition for Dissolution of Civil Union
- Case Management Order
- Exchange of Financial Disclosures
- Initial Status Conference
- Temporary Orders Hearing
- Permanent Orders Hearing
While it is simple enough to break down the process into a few common steps, the “ins and outs” of the dissolution process can be much more complex and difficult. Combine that complexity with the intense emotions that will occur in your case, and the entire process becomes overwhelming. The dissolution process is intended to disentangle the parties as much as possible. Children, of course, are the one area where disentanglement is not appropriate or desirable. Parents are expected to move on and take a collaborative co-parenting approach concerning their children after their dissolution. Our Denver divorce attorneys will help you develop a parenting plan that is in the children’s best interest. The parties will need to divide the property acquired during the civil union as part of the process. Colorado is not a community property state and the statue governing property division uses the standard “equitable division,” and case law interpreting the statute emphasizes that “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.” The division of marital property will vary based on various circumstances. Sauer & Petterson Family Law has a dedicated team of professionals who are going to guide you through this process. We take pride in our attention to detail and planning in our cases. Our Denver Divorce Attorney Team will work hard to help you achieve your objectives in your dissolution of civil union case.