You have made the decision to file for divorce from your spouse. Now what? The first question you should ask is, “where do I file for divorce?”
The legal question you are asking is, “what is the proper venue for my case to be heard?” Venue is the county or district in which your criminal or civil case must be heard. A divorce is a civil case. In the State of Colorado, your case will be heard in a specific county in Colorado.
The rule on venue is found in the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (C.R.C.P.) Rule 98. C.R.C.P. Rule 98 says that an action (your divorce) shall be tried in the county in which the defendant, or any of them, may reside at the commencement of the action, or the county where the plaintiff resides when service is made on the defendant in such county.
The easy answer is that you will file for divorce or dissolution of marriage in the county in which you and your spouse reside, if you and your spouse live in the same county. For example, if both parties live in El Paso County, then the case will be filed in El Paso County at the El Paso County Judicial Building.
Deciding where to file can get a little more confusing if you and your spouse live in different counties in Colorado, but it still can be done. If husband and wife lived in El Paso County during the marriage, but now after the separation, wife moved to Douglas County, now where to file becomes a question. If wife files for divorce, as petitioner, and gets service on husband in El Paso County, then the case could be heard in El Paso County.
Sometimes, I find that both husband and wife have filed in two different counties in Colorado. This can create complications and a hearing before the divorce even gets started. The judges in each county would talk, but generally, one of the counties (usually the county where a dissolution was filed first), will hold a hearing on venue. I caution parties about filing in two different counties as it can be costly and create unnecessary delay in the dissolution of marriage case.
As a practical tip, I recommend either speaking with a family law attorney before you file your divorce case. If you do not speak with a lawyer, call the courthouse in the county you live and just ask them if your case should be filed there or where you should go to ask.
If you have questions about where your Colorado divorce case should be heard, please contact the family law lawyers at Springs Law Group at 719.421.7141 or [email protected] We are here to help you.