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Home Self Help Child Custody without a Marriage or Civil Union
Home Self Help Child Custody without a Marriage or Civil Union
Child Custody without a Marriage or Civil Union
These standard instructions are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice about your case. If you choose to represent yourself, you are bound by the same rules and procedures as an attorney.

  • I have children, but I am not married or in a civil union. How do I get custody and/or child support?
    • 1. Decide if you can start a child custody and/or child support case.
      • You can start a child custody and/or child support case if you are:

        1.  A parent;

        2.  A person other than a parent if the child is NOT in the physical custody of one of the parents;

        3.  A person other than a parent who has taken physical care of a child for 182 days or more. Such a person must file the case within 182 days after he or she stops physically caring for the child; OR

        4.  A party to a Dependency and Neglect case if:

             (a)  There is an existing Dependency and Neglect case, AND

             (b)  No other case involving the child is pending anywhere else

    • 2. Identify where you should file your paperwork.
      • Give your paperwork to the district court in the county where the child permanently lives or in the county where the child is.  To find your district court, click on Courts by County.

         

    • 3. Decide whether you and the other parent will file the case together.
      • You and the other parent can file the custody case together, or you can file the case on your own.

        You decide if you want to file together or file on your own. The court cannot make this decision for you.

    • 4. If you decide to file the case together with the other parent, follow these steps.
      • If you and the other parent file your custody case together, you will be known as the Petitioner and the other parent will be known as the Co-Petitioner.

         

        STEP 1- Download and complete your forms.

        Download and complete these forms:
        JDF 1000 Case Information Sheet,
        JDF 1413 Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, and
        JDF 1422 Order for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

        For detailed instructions on how to complete these forms, review JDF 1413I Instructions for Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities.

        You will fill out only the top ("caption") part of JDF 1422 Order for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, and the court will fill out the rest.

         

        STEP 2- Sign your completed Petition in front of a notary public or court clerk.

        * Both you and the other parent must sign the Petition in front of a notary public a court clerk at the courthouse where you will file your case. You do not need to do this at the same time (Eg: you can sign in front of a notary or court clerk, give the form to your spouse and have him/her sign in front of a notary or court clerk at a later time). You can find a local notary public by looking in the Yellow Pages, on the Internet, or by going to your local bank.

        * You and the other parent will need to pay any notarization fees.

         

        STEP 3- File your Forms with the Court.

        * Take your completed JDF 1000 Case Information Sheet, JDF 1413 Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, and JDF 1422 Order for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities to the clerk at the counter in the courthouse. Give the forms to the clerk to file your case.  Either you OR the other parent can drop off the forms at the court, and it is not necessary that you both go together.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford the filing fee, go to the instructions and fill out form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees to request a waiver of the filing fee.

        * The clerk might ask you to complete additional forms. Please follow the clerk's instructions.

    • 5. If you decide to file on your own, follow these steps.
      • If you choose to file your case on your own, you will be known as the Petitioner and the other parent will be known as the Respondent.

         

        STEP 1- Download and Complete your Forms.

        * Download and complete:
        * JDF 1000 Case Information Sheet,
        * JDF 1413 Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities,
        * JDF 1414 Summons to Respond to Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, and
        * JDF 1422 Order for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

        * For detailed instructions on how to complete these forms, review JDF 1413I Instructions for Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities.

         

        STEP 2- Sign your completed Petition in front of a notary public or court clerk.

        * Take your completed JDF 1413 Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities to either a notary public, or to a court clerk at the courthouse where you will file your case. You can find a local notary public by looking in the Yellow Pages, on the Internet, or by going to your local bank.

        * You will need to pay any notarization fees. The other parent DOES NOT need to sign the form.

         

        STEP 3- File your forms with the court.

        *  Take your completed JDF 1000 Case Information Sheet, JDF 1413 Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, JDF 1414 Summons to Respond to Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities, and JDF 1422 Order for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities to the clerk at the counter in the courthouse. Give the forms to the clerk to file your case.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford the filing fee, go to the instructions and fill out form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees to request a waiver of the filing fee.

        * The clerk might ask you to complete additional forms. Please follow the clerk's instructions.

         

        STEP 4- Arrange to serve the other parent.

        * After you file your forms with the court, you must arrange to deliver JDF 1413 Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and JDF 1414 Summons to Respond to Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities to the other parent. The process of arranging to have these forms delivered to the other parent is known as personal service.

        * The clerk will finish filling out JDF 1414 Summons to Respond to Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and give you a copy to be served on the other parent.

        * Refer to the step-by-step instructions on how to arrange for personal service on your spouse and how to return proof of service to the court.

         

    • 6. Read your Case Management Order and complete additional forms.
      • * After you file your case, the clerk will likely give you a Case Management Order. This document contains information about your case such as the date of your Initial Status Conference and requirements for filling out more forms. Follow these steps while reviewing your Case Management Order:

        (1) Mark the Initial Status Conference date on your calendar.

        (2) Additional forms the court may need include:

        * JDF 1111 Sworn Financial Statement
        * JDF 1104 Certificate of Compliance with C.R.C.P. 16.2(e)
        * JDF 1113 Parenting Plan
        * JDF 1117 Support Order
        * JDF 1129 Petitioner/Co-Petitioner/Respondent Pre-trial Statement

        Refer to the complete list of forms if the court orders you to complete any forms that are not listed above.

        (3) If the Case Management Order gives you specific information on how to schedule a status conference or hearing, follow those steps. If the Case Management Order does not give you specific information on how to do this, see JDF 1122 Instructions to Set a Hearing and to Complete a Notice of Hearing or Status Conference Form for instructions.

        (4) if you need to calculate child support, use the child support calculator.

    • 7. Go to your Initial Status Conference
      • * You and the other parent should BOTH attend the Initial Status Conference. Give the other parent notice of the Initial Status Conference at least 14 days before the date of the Initial Status Conference.  Check with the court about how to give notice.  By doing this, you will still be able to move forward with your case even if your the other parent does not show up to the Initial Status Conference.

        * You must go to the initial status conference even if the other parent has not yet been served. By law, the Initial Status Conference must happen within 42 days of the filing of your case.

        * Bring the forms required by your Case Management Order with you to the Initial Status Conference.

        * You will most likely meet with a Family Court Facilitator at your Initial Status Conference. The Family Court Facilitator will help you understand what you need to do during your case and will answer your questions. He or she will also give you instructions about the next steps in your case, but cannot give you legal advice.

  • How do I answer if I receive paperwork asking for custody and child support?
    • 1. Read the Paperwork
      • * Decide whether or not you agree with the information in the paperwork.

    • 2. Identify where you should file your paperwork to answer.
      • * The location and contact information of the court where the custody and child support case was filed is on the top of the paperwork you received.

        * Give your paperwork to the same court that is listed on the paperwork you received.

    • 3. Fill out the Response form and mail or hand-deliver a copy to the other parent.
      • * Download and complete Form JDF 1420 Response to Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities.

        * You will be know as the "Respondent" and the other parent is the "Petitioner".

        * The case number is on the top of the custody paperwork you received.  Use that same number on your response form.

        * You will need to mail or hand-deliver a copy of JDF 1420 Response to Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities to the other parent.  After you mail or hand-deliver your Response to the other parent, complete the "Certificate of Service" part of the form before filing the form with the court.

    • 4. File your Response form with the court.
      • * Take your completed JDF 1420 Response to Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities to the clerk at the counter in the courthouse.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford the filing fee, go to the instructions and fill out form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees to request a waiver of the filing fee.

  • How do I register a child-custody order from another state in Colorado?
    • 1. Identify what you need before you start.
      • * If you have custody orders from another state and you move to Colorado, you can register those orders in Colorado.  Once you register your orders in Colorado, you can ask a court in Colorado to enforce those orders.

        * Before you ask a Colorado court to register your out-of-state custody orders, you will need to have two copies (including one certified copy) of the orders from the other state.

    • 2. Identify where you should file your paperwork.
      • * You should file your paperwork with the district court in the county where you live or where the other parent lives. To find your district court, click on Courts by County.

         

    • 3. Decide whether you and the other parent will file the case together.
      • * You and the other parent can file your case together, or you can file the case on your own.

        * You decide if you want to file together or file on your own. The court cannot make this decision for you.

    • 4. If you decide to file together with the other parent, follow these steps.
      • You and the other parent will have the same "identities" as you did in the original out-of-state case.  For example, if you were the "Petitioner" in the original case, you will be the "Petitioner" when you file these forms.

         

        STEP 1- Download and complete your forms.

        * Download and complete these forms:
        * JDF 1000 Case Information Sheet,
        * JDF 1224 Petition to Register a Foreign Child Custody Determinatino Pursuant to §14-13-305, C.R.S., and
        * JDF 1225 Order Regarding Foreign Child Custody Determination

        * You will only fill out the top ("caption") part of JDF 1225 Order Regarding Foreign Child Custody Determination.  The Court will fill out the rest.

         

        STEP 2- Sign your completed Petition in front of a notary public or court clerk.

        * Both you and the other parent must sign the Petition in front of a notary public a court clerk at the courthouse where you will file your case.  You do not need to do this at the same time (Eg: you can sign in front of a notary or court clerk, give the form to the other parent and have him/her sign in front of a notary or court clerk at a later time). You can find a local notary public by looking in the Yellow Pages, on the Internet, or by going to your local bank.

        * You and the other parent will need to pay any notarization fees.

         

        STEP 3- File your Forms with the Court.

        * Take your completed forms to the clerk at the counter in the courthouse. Give the forms to the clerk to file your case.  Either you OR the other parent can drop off the forms at the court, and it is not necessary that you both go together.

        * REMEMBER:  Give the two copies (including one certified copy) of the custody orders from the out-of-state case to the clerk along with your completed forms.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford the filing fee, go to the instructions and fill out form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees to request a waiver of the filing fee.

        * The clerk might ask you to complete additional forms. Please follow the clerk's instructions.

    • 5. If you decide to file on your own, follow these steps.
      • You and the other parent will have the same "identities" as you did in the original out-of-state case. For example, if you were the "Petitioner" in the original case, you will be the "Petitioner" when you file these forms.

         

        STEP 1- Download and Complete your Forms.

        * Download and complete:
        * JDF 1000 Case Information Sheet,
        * JDF 1224 Petition to Register a Foreign Child Custody Determination Pursuant to §14-13-305, C.R.S.,
        * JDF 1225 Order Regarding Foreign Child Custody Determination, and
        * JDF 1226 Notice of Registration of Foreign Child Custody Determination Purusant to §14-13-305, C.R.S

        * You will only fill out the top ("caption") part of the JDF 1225 Order Regarding Foreign Child Custody Determination and JDF 1226 Notice of Registration of Foreign Child Custody Determination Purusant to §14-13-305, C.R.S.  The court will fill out the rest.

         

        STEP 2- Sign your completed Petition in front of a notary public or court clerk.

        * Take your completed Petition to either a notary public, or to a court clerk at the courthouse where you will file your case. You can find a local notary public by looking in the Yellow Pages, on the Internet, or by going to your local bank.

        * Sign your Petition in front of the notary public or court clerk and pay the notarization fee. The other parent DOES NOT need to sign the forms.

         

        STEP 3- File your forms with the court.

        * Take your completed forms to the clerk at the counter in the courthouse. Give the forms to the clerk to file your case.

        * REMEMBER: Give the two copies (including one certified copy) of the custody orders from the out-of-state case to the clerk along with your completed forms.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford the filing fee, go to the instructions and fill out form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees to request a waiver of the filing fee.

        * The clerk might ask you to complete additional forms. Please follow the clerk's instructions.

         

        STEP 4- The court will give notice to the other parent.

        * After you file your forms with the court, the court will send a copy of JDF 1224 Petition to Register a Foreign Child Custody Determination Pursuant to §14-13-305, C.R.S. along with a copy of JDF 1226 Notice of Registration of Foreign Child Custody Determination Purusant to §14-13-305, C.R.S to the other parent.

  • How do I answer if I receive papers asking to register my child custody orders from another state in Colorado?
    • 1. Read the paperwork.
      • * Decide whether or not you agree with the information in the paperwork.

    • 2. Determine if you can object.
      • * If you do not agree with registering the out-of-state child-custody orders in Colorado, you can object ONLY if at least one of the following is true:

        1.  The out-of-state court that ordered child-custody did not have the authority to give the orders;

        2.  The out-of-state orders have been changed, terminated or delayed; or

        3.  You were supposed to get notice before the out-of-state court gave the child custody orders, but you never got any notice.

         

        * If you want to object to the registration of your out-of-state child-custody orders in Colorado, you MUST object in writing and ask for a hearing within 21 day after you get notice of the registration.

    • 3. Identify where you should file your paperwork.
      • * The location and contact information of the court where the case to register the out-of-state child custody orders was filed is on the top of the paperwork you received.

        * Give your paperwork to the same court that is listed on the paperwork you received.

    • 4. Fill out your objection form.
      • * Download and complete Form JDF 1227 Objection to Petition to Register a Foreign Child Custody Determination Pursuant to §14-13-305, C.R.S. and Request for Hearing.

        You and the other parent will have the same "identities" as you did in the original out-of-state case. For example, if you were the "Petitioner" in the original case, you will be the "Petitioner" when you file these forms.

        * The case number is on the top of the paperwork you received. Use that same number on your Objection form.

        * You will need to mail or hand-deliver a copy of JDF 1227 Objection to Petition to Register a Foreign Child Custody Determination Pursuant to §14-13-305, C.R.S. and Request for Hearing to the other parent.  After you mail or hand-deliver the Objection form to the other parent, fill out the "Certificate of Service" part of the form before filing the form with the court.

    • 5. File your objection with the court.
      • * Take your completed JDF 1227 Objection to Petition to Register a Foreign Child Custody Determination Pursuant to §14-13-305, C.R.S. and Request for Hearing to the clerk at the courthouse.

        * The court will ask you to pay a filing fee. If you do not think you can afford the filing fee, go to the instructions and fill out form JDF 205 Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit and the caption box of JDF 206 Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees to request a waiver of the filing fee.

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