St Louis, MO asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Colorado

Q: I’m in a custody case what form is it to get a default judgment order so I can have the other person drop from case.

She was served it’s been 96 days and she still hasn’t filed a response nor any paper work. However she has been to the first meeting and mediation. But haven’t file parenting plan a response sworn financial statement nothing. So I want her to be dropped from the case if that’s possible

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brock Richard Wood
Brock Richard Wood
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Denver, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: In Colorado, you can ask the court to set a "default judgment hearing" if the other side just goes "radio silent" like this. At a default judgment hearing, the other side may be limited in the evidence they can put before the judge because the other side has not complied with any of the rules or filed a response. That puts you in a favorable position as your evidence will be the majority (or all) of the evidence the court looks at.

If the other side is the mother of the child (and you are the father), then the court will not "drop the person from the case". The court may completely side with you and give you a very favorable outcome, but the mother of the child is a "necessary party" to a child custody case and cannot be "dropped". Now, if the other party is a third party of some sort, such as a grandparent, relative, or some other person with a connection to the child, but the person is not a parent of the child, it may be possible to have that person dismissed as a party to the case. Talk to an experienced Colorado child custody attorney, explain the facts of your case in detail, and get his or her advice on what your options are.

Each court has discretion to handle this situation as the court sees fit. In my experience, most judges in domestic relations cases in Colorado will try to get the other side to respond before resorting to a default judgment hearing. The court may issue what is a known as a "delay reduction order" with a deadline to get the other side to file a response, provide financial disclosures, and otherwise comply with the rules and the court's orders.

If the other side fails to comply with requirements in Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure (C.R.C.P.) 16.2, you have the right to ask for "sanctions" under C.R.C.P. 16.2(j):

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(j) Sanctions. If a party fails to comply with any of the provisions of this rule, the court may impose appropriate sanctions, which shall not prejudice the party who did comply. If a party attempts to call a witness or introduce an exhibit that the party has not disclosed under subsection (h) of this Rule, the court may exclude that witness or exhibit absent good cause for the omission.

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This is a powerful tool because you can ask the court to not let the other party use witnesses or evidence at a hearing that the other side should have revealed previously. Again, you have an advantage when your witnesses and evidence are the only witnesses and evidence the judge looks at.

Another thing you can do is file a "motion to compel" to get the other side to disclose financial documents if the other side is failing to do so. If you have an attorney, the attorney can ask the court to order the other side to pay your attorney fees associated with writing and filing the motion to compel. The court will decide whether to grant the request for attorney fees.

You should consult with an experienced Colorado child custody attorney, explain the facts of your case in detail, and get his or her advice on the next steps to take in your case.

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