720-608-3052

frequently asked questions

COCD services:

What is COCD’s approach to separation and divorce?

The goal of our multi-disciplinary approach is to reduce conflict during a separation or divorce so that parents can work together to resolve issues in a manner that is in the best interest of their children. We help our clients learn strong, collaborative communication skills for co-parenting. In addition, we work to help couples come to agreement on their plans for transition.

How many hours of service do I get in a COCD “package”? What if I need more?

Our packages are designed to fit your family and to ensure that all elements that may benefit you are readily available, coordinated and customized to your family’s unique needs. This includes individual and family counseling, legal and financial education, mediation and drafting of legal agreements. Within the service package there is no limit on the number of hours provided—each family member’s needs related to the transition are identified and met throughout the process.

Can I buy just a standalone service rather than purchase an entire package?

Research indicates that a holistic and coordinated approach to a family transition creates a positive impact, not the individual service elements themselves. For this reason, we only offer our services as a flat rate package.

What if my co-parent does not want to participate in the COCD process?

We require that both parents consent to working together and engage equally in the process. We don’t expect you and your co-parent to agree on all of the issues surrounding your divorce or separation, but we do require that you both agree to work with COCD.

What services does COCD offer children?

Child and adolescent services are a very important aspect of the services we provide at COCD. We offer an initial check-in with each child and provide feedback to parents about what services may be helpful. Recommendations may include ongoing therapeutic counseling to assist with adjustment to the separation or divorce and/or short-term, age-appropriate support groups.

How long will it take to complete our divorce?

Each case is unique, and some cases take longer than others due to the complexity of the issues involved. On average, however, a divorce case can usually be finalized within 4-6 months of the court filing.

Both of us are not yet certain that we want to get divorced. Can COCD services help us come to a decision about our marriage?

COCD offers a package of services tailored to help couples explore and make decisions about their future together. The Planning for Transition service package includes counseling as well as legal and financial education to help couples and individuals determine their path forward.

Does COCD provide help with budgeting and creating a financial plan?

Yes. We provide financial education and budget planning. We also help couples identify issues such as valuation of pensions or businesses that may require a referral to external experts.

Can we really complete our divorce without entering the courtroom?

Yes. Colorado law requires that couples seeking divorce appear at court to file their petition for divorce. From there, our entire process, including granting of the final divorce decree, happens outside of the traditional courtroom.

General Questions:

Who benefits most from an out-of-court divorce model?

Parents who are willing to work together in the best interests of their children will gain significant benefit from COCD. Regardless of how much families are struggling, our team of professionals will work with each family member to identify and draw upon existing strengths, while helping to resolve barriers to a successful transition.

Can we still work with COCD if we are not legally married?

Yes. COCD helps with allocation of parental responsibility or “APR” cases, which involve non-married parents who need to develop a parenting plan and obtain a child support order for their child(ren).

Does COCD serve same sex couples?

Yes. We work with same sex couples with children.

Does COCD serve couples without children?

No. We do not serve couples without children.

What if there is a substance abuse or mental health problem in my family? Can we still work with COCD?

COCD does work with families experiencing substance abuse and/or mental health issues, as long as all participating family members are able to fully and safely engage in the process.

Is childcare available?

No. We do not provide on-site childcare. We do provide specific services for children such as individual counseling or support groups that can sometimes be scheduled at the same time as adult services.

COCD Service Providers:

Who are COCD’s service providers?

Our team is composed of licensed mental health clinicians and lawyers with specialized training in mediation and conflict resolution, as well an expert with specialized training to assist couples with budgeting and understanding the financial implications of divorce.

Is our information kept confidential?

Everything that you and your family share with us is private and confidential with the exception of legally mandated reporting issues (e.g., child abuse and neglect, threats of violence, etc.).

Does COCD do CFI (child & family investigator) or PRE (parental responsibility evaluator) work?

No. We do not perform those functions.

Financial Issues:

Can I pay COCD in installments?

Yes. Fees are payable in installments by cash, check or credit card. For the Comprehensive Separation or Divorce Support package, the $6,500 fee can be broken up into four (4) monthly payments. The first installment of $2,000 is due prior to starting services, followed by three (3) additional monthly payments of $1,500 each. For the Allocation of Parental Responsibility package, the $4500 fee can be broken up into four (4) monthly payments. The first installment of $1500 is due prior to starting services, followed by three (3) monthly payments of $1000 each.

Will COCD refund any portion of the package cost if we decide to stop working with the Center?

In rare instances, we will consider a partial refund of package fees if it becomes apparent that there are extenuating circumstances that warrant discontinuation of services.

Does COCD provide any financial assistance for families who would like to utilize your services, but cannot afford them?

Your family may be eligible for a reduced fee arrangement if you are uniquely suited to benefit from COCD services and there is a demonstrated financial need. To get more information, please call us at (720) 608-3052 or email info@centerforoutofcourtdivorce.org.

Does the cost of the Comprehensive Separation or Divorce Support package include all legal fees, such as filing fees, attorney fees, etc.?

No. You are responsible for the initial filing fee associated with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Separation or an Allocation of Parental Responsibility action. If you are unable to afford filing fees, you can file a request to waive filing fees with the court. You and your partner are also responsible for any legal fees you incur if either of you choose to retain counsel.

How does the cost of COCD services compare to hiring attorneys or mediators in the divorce process?

Our Comprehensive Separation or Divorce Support package supports the entire family through the complete process of separation and divorce for $6,500. In a traditional representational model, legal services alone are estimated to cost an average of $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the number of billable hours. Mediation outside of the Center can range from $85 to $350 per hour depending on the experience of the mediator. In addition, comparable mental health services for the family are estimated to be several thousand dollars. Further, divorcing parents rarely learn tools through traditional methods that will help them avoid conflict in the future and co-parent successfully.

Does health insurance or Medicaid cover COCD services?

No. Our services are not billable to health insurance.

Frequently asked questions about the Center for Out of Court Divorce

if you have additional questions, don't hesitate to call us at (720) 608-3052

Legal and Court Related Considerations:

The court told me COCD could help me. We have a court hearing next week, can COCD help?

Possibly, provided both parents are willing to work with COCD and are able to get permission from the court to postpone their hearing so you have time to work with the COCD team.

I have a lawyer, but my co-parent does not. Can we use COCD services?

Yes, COCD works with individuals that are unrepresented or “pro-se.”

Does COCD manage the entire court process for us?

Our legal education services are designed to help you understand what you will need to do at each step of the process, and help you keep track of deadlines along the way. In this process, you and your partner will be responsible for filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation or a Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities. The Center is not able to file these documents on your behalf, nor will COCD cover any filing fees. Each of you will also be responsible for completing the court-ordered financial disclosure documents and must attend the mandatory parenting after divorce class outside of the Center. COCD will handle all non-contested court filings, draft a final agreement memorializing your financial and parenting agreements and hold the final hearing at the Center if you so choose.

Do we have to appear at court hearings?

Once COCD becomes involved with your case, we notify the court that we are working with you. The court will then pause or “stay” the proceedings so that you and your partner do not have to attend the Initial Status Conference or set a hearing date on the court’s docket. You and your partner must attend a non-contested hearing even if you are able to enter into a final agreement resolving all issues. You and your partner will have the option to have that final hearing at the Center, providing a much less stressful and intimidating environment than a courtroom.

Does COCD provide legal representation?

No. The COCD team acts as an impartial third party to help facilitate out-of-court conflict resolution. We do not provide legal advice or representation.

If I want legal representation in the mediation process, is that possible?

Yes. You and/or your partner may involve legal counsel at any time during the COCD process.

In this process when do we file with the court for divorce? What if we have already filed? Can I file through COCD?

Couples can file for divorce before or after they start working with COCD. If you have already filed for divorce and want to work with COCD, we will notify the court that you are working with us. The court will then pause or “stay” the proceedings for three months. If needed, COCD will ask the court for additional time to assist your family, provided all parties are actively working with us. COCD cannot file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation or a Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities on your behalf. However, our legal education services can help you understand where to get these forms and how to file them.

I have court-ordered mediation; can that take place at COCD?

Yes, provided you and your partner have a service plan with COCD, and preparation for mediation has been completed.

Does COCD work with post-decree couples that have not previously used COCD services?

We offer post-decree services for couples that have not previously worked with COCD and are legally divorced, or have an order for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (APR) and need additional assistance. These services will be tailored to the specific needs of your family and may include mediation, co-parenting coaching and counseling services provided on an hourly fee-for-service basis.

Are you affiliated with the Colorado courts?

COCD is not affiliated with the Colorado courts. We have an agreement with the Colorado Supreme Court that permits the District Courts to pause or “stay” proceedings while the parties are actively working with COCD. Our agreement with the Supreme Court also enables us to hold final, non-contested hearings at the Center that are conducted by a retired Chief District Court Judge at no additional cost.

What happens if we cannot resolve some or all of our contested legal issues when working with COCD?

COCD can memorialize partial agreements in writing in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding that can then be filed with the court. You and/or your partner will then need to set your case for a contested hearing on the originating court’s docket to resolve any remaining issues. If you and your partner are unable to finalize the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding or choose not to have the Center draft one, you can return to the originating court to address all contested matters.

Does COCD prepare my legal documents? Or will COCD help me fill out legal documents?

COCD will provide guidance with any procedural questions you may have about completing court forms. However, many court forms must be filled out by the individual. The legal education services at COCD will help you understand what forms are needed and what information you will need to gather and provide to the court. COCD will file these documents with the court on your behalf. Also, following mediation, COCD will draft a Memorandum of Understanding that memorializes your financial and parenting agreements. COCD will also prepare a proposed Decree and Support Order (if applicable) for the final hearing.