If you are seeking a divorce in Colorado during the pandemic – whether your case is highly contested and you need the Court’s help to resolve disputed issues, or if you have an uncontested case and you just need a judge to approve the agreements you and your spouse have reached – the Colorado courts are open for business, just not in the traditional way.
The current global state of uncertainty has turned many lives on end and everything that once was certain is now uncertain. The Colorado courts were not immune to the uncertainty at the onset of COVID-19 and many courts closed, except for a small number of essential court staff and judicial officers who handled only emergency court matters. Hearings were canceled and some were continued indefinitely (left without an official court date being set), leaving many to wonder: Can I still get divorced during COVID-19?
The answer is yes! Fortunately, the Colorado courts have proven to be highly adaptable, transforming antiquated, in-person court requirements into safe, efficient, virtual courtrooms. Through telephone conferences and video conferencing, the Courts are now able to hold most hearings remotely, allowing divorce cases to proceed as they did prior to COVID-19.
The Colorado courts have been utilizing a program similar to Zoom called WebEx. Each judicial officer has their own unique web link (or telephone number) and passcode that is provided to the parties. Much like the Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts we have all become accustomed to, each participant’s live stream is broadcast to the other participants and the hearing is conducted as if everyone were physically in the courtroom. This has been instrumental in allowing the courts to continue business as “normal” and allow parties to seek a divorce during this time.
Moving forward, the Colorado courts continually monitor COVID-19 and determine on a case-by-case basis if it is safe to reopen the courthouses for in-person hearings. In some instances, in a few smaller counties, the Court has slowly begun to allow in-person hearings based on the comfort level of the parties and judicial officers.
Tips For Virtual Court:
- Look nice – While some hearings are informal, you don’t want to appear sloppy, dress like you would for an interview.
- Avoid interruptions/distractions – You don’t want kids yelling in the background, dogs barking, or your phone ringing. Try to make arrangements for your call/video conference.
- Be ready – Not as in a legal battle / know all your facts ready, but just a basic preparedness. Eg. If you have essential claims to make, know what you’re going to say. And if you have forms to present, have them completed and with you.
For more information on the specific court in your county, please visit www.courts.state.co.us.