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MVL’s Family Law Court Program (“FLCP”) assists clients with uncomplicated, uncontested divorce or custody matters, where the other party is not represented by an attorney. FLCP clients represent themselves, appearing pro se, but are assisted through the process by MVL. Clinics take place each month in Douglas, Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, and Jefferson counties. The program accepts approximately 500 clients per year!
FLCP clients are all people who have previously contacted and conducted an intake interview through Colorado Legal Services. You can contact Colorado Legal Services by calling 303-837-1313.
The general FLCP process is as follows:
In order to be considered for FLCP, you must first
apply to Colorado Legal Services through its regular intake process. Colorado Legal Services will determine if the case is appropriate for FLCP, and if so, refer the case to the program. You will be notified whether your case was sent to Metro Volunteer Lawyers (“MVL”), and then MVL will inform you whether or not you have been accepted into the program.
: If accepted into FLCP, you will be notified about the date, time, and place of your first appointment. On this date, you will be assisted with completing the legal documents necessary to initiate your family law case. An MVL staff member, volunteer attorney, law student, or other legal professional will be there to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. The documents necessary to initiate your case will vary, but typically include a Statement of Understanding, a Motion to Waive the Filing Fee, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Allocation of Parental Responsibility, a Sworn Financial Statement, and a Service of Process questionnaire.
: MVL will then file your case for you and
arrange personal service on the opposing party. Service of process is typically done by a private process server or a sheriff. If the opposing party lives in Colorado, you will be asked to bring a money order in the amount of $55 to cover administrative costs. If the opposing party lives outside of Colorado, the amount is $75. If you cannot afford this fee, we encourage you to attend the appointment nonetheless. Once the opposing party has been served, MVL will then schedule your case for a Permanent Orders hearing (this is the hearing where a divorce judgment will enter, and where allocation of parental responsibilities will be decided). If the opposing party cannot be served despite substantial effort, MVL will assist you with serving by publication. Although undesirable because service by publication limits the orders a court can make, at times it is the only option to move the case forward. At least 91 days must pass after service of process before the case can be heard. Once scheduled, MVL will notify you of the date and time of the Permanent Orders hearing, as well as send the opposing party notice.
: On the date of your Permanent Orders hearing, you will come to the court and meet with a volunteer attorney. You and the attorney will prepare the final paperwork required for your hearing. This will include assisting you with completing the applicable proposed orders that will be submitted to the judge at the hearing. This attorney will further prepare you for the hearing, and then represent you during the actual hearing. After hearing the case, the judge will typically enter permanent orders immediately. Your volunteer attorney will represent you solely for the duration of the hearing, and once it has concluded, he or she will be withdrawn from the case. Afterwards, you will receive a copy of the final divorce decree and/or permanent orders. MVL’s involvement in your case will then be complete. You may still, however, re-apply to Colorado Legal Services in the future if you are in need of legal assistance and unable to afford an attorney.