By: Breanna Latt and Beth Andersen 

In this series, the Andersen Law PC blog is spelling out the 12 steps of divorce on month at a time.

The following is a roadmap with the basics for 12 steps of a divorce proceeding. The intent is to walk you through the process one simple step at a time.

(To see the process in a more personalized, real world context, follow the blogs on the Aingel and DeVille families: the Aingels relatively soaring through the process while the DeVilles crash and burn.)

To discuss your specific situation, feel free to call us at 720-922-3880 or email We are happy to walk you through your own next steps and to answer questions in your complimentary initial phone or videoconference consult.

Here is where the next several months will take us:

1 – serving and filing a petition for dissolution

2 – responding to the petition

3 – sworn financial statement, disclosures, and parenting classes

4 – initial status conference

5 – discovery and depositions

6 – professionals:  CFI, PRE, vocational evaluator, appraisals

7 – motions to compel and telephone conferences

8 – temporary orders

9 – mediation

10 – parenting plans and separation agreements

11 – witnesses, pretrial deadlines and permanent orders

12 – QDROs and other post decree issues

12 STEPS OF DIVORCE: Step 4 – Going to Court – The Initial Status Conference

In Step 4 of the divorce process, you will go to court for the first time for the Initial Status Conference (ISC). The purpose of this conference is to clarify deadlines, review procedures, review drafted forms, review next steps, and to ask any questions.

Your case will either be assigned to a judge or a magistrate, both of whom can issue orders. It is important that you attend this initial hearing in order to weigh in on important issues. Being absent also reflects poorly on you in the eyes of the court. 

Prior to the hearing, you will either file Proof of Service (if you are the petitioning filer) or the response to the petition/motion (for the responding party). Drafts of the Sworn Financial Statement, Supporting Schedules (if needed), and the Certificate of Compliance

initial status conference

Here are key things to know about the Initial Status Conference and what to expect:

  • While it is true that the judge will give scheduling leeway to attorneys (who are attending multiple court dates), you will not have the opportunity to weigh in on a date and time that is convenient for you. You will be expected to show up prepared and on time for every court date.
  • It is imperative that you hit each deadline in order to avoid dragging out the process further. 
  • You are able to represent yourself, however, you will be at a disadvantage without and attorney’s knowledge of the law and experience to process these cases. You may opt to hire a firm like Andersen Law PC that offers unbundled services — where you only engage our attorneys for the steps you want help with — as well as full-service representation. Be sure to consider the various representation options available to you to give you the best possible outcomes in your case.
  • The judge or magistrate may issue deadlines for: incomplete disclosures (additional information required of either party), Child Family InvestigatorCFI—at the request of either party, mediation, and appraisal on the marital home.
  • You will have the opportunity to set a hearing for temporary orders, which includes urgent issues of child support, parenting time, payment of debt, spousal support, who will reside in the marital home, among others. You will be able to weigh in on dates for this hearing. 
  • The magistrate or judge will also file a Minute Order available on the court filing system (ICCES). This document will summarize all deadlines and other court orders discussed during the conference. 
  • Both parties will visit with the docket clerk to find out who their district court judge will be and to set dates for contested permanent orders in case they do not settle the case.

Following the initial status hearing, you may need to file additional documents if you haven’t already. These documents could include: Separation Agreement (for marriage or civil union), Parenting class certification, calculated child support, Parenting Plan, mediation forms, and hearing forms.

Is the Initial Status Conference Required?

You may be able to create a stipulated case management plan as an option to avoid the initial status conference. However, to go this route, both parties must have legal representation and agree before the scheduled hearing. This can often be difficult to complete on time as there are many issues to agree on. 

For a free consult on your divorce case, contact Andersen Law PC at 720-922-3880. You can also check out our related blog posts, Facebook page and YouTube videos, and sign up for our monthly newsletter. All of these are chock full of information that can help you navigate divorce and other family law issues.

Blog edited by Jacquelyn Gutc


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