Legal System Resources
The Colorado Judicial Branch Website has invaluable information. Look here for forms and instruction for use of the forms.
There is also a section with Educational Resources which has material on the legal system and the Colorado Judicial Learning Center. You can also find brochures on child support enforcement, parenting time, restraining orders, Family Mediation, Paternity, and more.
Each judicial district has a self-help center staffed by a self-represented litigant coordinator, aka “Sherlock.” The self-help center will contain all kinds of forms for self-represented parties, as well as videos and other instructions on how you might proceed on your own. Sherlocks are an invaluable resource – a real person who can assist you with navigating the system, locating forms, process, and procedures.
Check out the LexisNexis website which has both Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) and Colorado Court Rules. If you are representing yourself in a family law matter you will be primarily interested in Title 14 statutes. You will also want to familiarize yourself with the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, particularly C.R.C.P. 16.2.
The Colorado General Assembly website will also give you access to Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.).
The Colorado Supreme Court Library is located on the first floor of the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center. This library is open to the public. It has professional law librarians are available to assist members of the public with legal research and reference needs.
Check in your area for Pro Se Clinics or Lawyers at the Library programs. In these programs volunteer attorneys will answer questions, help you fill out forms, explain processes and procedures. Try Google or the local bar association website to find these programs, or ask a Sherlock.
Local bar associations are working with the Colorado Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee to improve access to information and legal services to self-represented parties. So, check out your local bar association online.
For example, if you look at the Arapahoe County Bar Association (ACBA) website you will find a link called “Public Resources.” There, you will find a link to Colorado Legal Services and a link to checkerboard a website with the goal of centralizing information for self-represented parties.
The Arapahoe Library District and the Arapahoe Bar Association work together to host Lawyers at the Library. In these sessions you can obtain a 30-minute free consultation about your matter.
If you look at the Douglas-Elbert Bar Association, you will find information about the Douglas/Elbert Pro Se Clinic.
Check with your local library. Many libraries around the state are working to host virtual pro se clinics where the attorney is available by tele-conference. Again, as with Lawyers at the Library, volunteer attorneys help answer questions or fill out forms. They do not give legal advice but can explain processes and procedures.
There are several websites designed to help parents understand their children’s experience or to improve their co-parenting communications. Check out the websites for Postcards from Splitsville, UptoParents, Civil Communicator, Our Family Wizard and Talking Parents.
Don’t overlook your required parenting class. It isn’t just a hoop to jump through, it provides a good start to the next phase of your parenting: co-parenting after divorce.
Think about a Level II Co-Parenting Class. Your attorney can help you find providers of these type classes in your area or you can look online.
If you do not have an attorney, consider contacting the Metro Denver Interdisciplinary Council or the Boulder Interdisciplinary Counsel as those are groups of family law professionals, including counselors, therapists, attorneys, and financial planners, who focus on improving outcomes for families in transition.
If paying for therapy is not an option for you, remember your public library. There are many books about surviving divorce, supporting your children through divorce, and moving forward positively under difficult circumstances.
Consider a parenting coach to improve your co-parenting. We have had a number of clients who took our advice, worked with a coach, and found the coach extremely helpful.
When we suggest a level II parenting class or a parenting coach to our clients we sometimes meet resistance, at least initially. If that is your first emotional response to these options remember that parenting is a learned skill. Taking a class or using a coach are useful strategies to learn new skills or improve performance in co-parenting, just as they would be to learn a new skill at work or improve performance at the gym.
Support for Children
If you have children, begin with their school counselors. School counselors often know of resources for children experiencing family stresses. Additionally, the counselor can advise you as to the benefit of making the child’s teacher(s) aware that the family is experiencing the stress of divorce. There may a support group within the school for kids who are experiencing their parents’ divorce.
Consider a private counselor for a child you find struggling, suffering, or stressed.
Resources for Self-Care
Utilize time proven advice regarding sleep, exercise, and relaxation. Resources for this surround you and so we will not provide any specific listing of resources here. However, it is worth mentioning the importance of self-care since you are going through a difficult time in your life and experiencing a major life stress.
Consider a private counselor or support group for yourself if you find you are struggling. Remember you are in transition and this phase will not last forever. Seek help if you need it.
Your Case Management Order may contain a list of resources for individuals who have suffered domestic abuse. You can also find resources online for your area.