Effective March 18, 2003, the Colorado State Legislature raised the fees for filing many court actions, including domestic relations cases, by fifty percent, in order to accommodate the rising cost of divorce support resources. Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey explained, “Falling state revenues compounded with increasing pressures on the state’s court and probation systems have necessitated an increase in user fees. We have no programs that can be cut. Our employees are our strength and our money goes to pay them. Filings, data entry, hearings, court proceedings and other judicial business are highly dependent upon knowledgeable, well-trained employees.”

The state’s trial courts collectively handle about 12,000 cases each week. In 2002, 634,000 cases were filed, up from 600,000 the previous year. District court filings, which include most domestic cases, have continued to increase by 5.1 percent during the first half of 2003.

Among the new fees are:

Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: $144.00
Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities: $139.00
Response: $70.00
Motion to modify a decree or order: $90.00
Adoption Petition: $139.00
Grandparent Visitation: $136.00
Paternity determination: $139.00

The increases in the numbers of cases filed every year, and falling state revenues, have also caused an increase in the time it takes to obtain a court date in many counties, once a case is filed. It is hoped the new fees will allow the counties to increase their services, and make earlier court dates more available.