Personal jurisdiction gives the court legal authority over the respondent person. People in the Interest of Clinton, 762 P.2d 1381 (Colo. 1988). Subject matter jurisdiction concerns the court's authority to deal with issues in cases in which it renders judgment. Id.6 Most jurisdictional statutes require the court to have both, but in certain situations, especially in cases involving children, only subject matter jurisdiction is necessary.

Personal jurisdiction is initially acquired by service inside or outside the state as otherwise specified by C.R.C.P. 4. "Snatch and serve" service on an out-of-state resident sojourning in Colorado confers initial full personal jurisdiction over the responding party. Burnham v. Superior Court of Cal., 495 U.S. 604 (1990); In re Custody of Nugent, 955 P.2d 584 (Colo. App. 1997); People ex rel. J.A.E.S., 7 P.3d 1021 (Colo. App. 2000). A waiver and acceptance of service signed by the responding party also initially confers personal jurisdiction, and subjects him or her to the court's jurisdiction. C.R.S. § 14-10-107(2)(g).

Personal service outside the state initially gives the court limited jurisdiction over parties, children, and property as defined by statute. C.R.S. §§ 13-1-124, 14-5-201 and -202, 14-13-104, and 19-4-109, discussed below. Service by publication is governed by statute in matters brought under the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act and differs from the requirements for publication found in C.R.C.P. 4(g). C.R.S. § 14-10-107(4)(a) (service is by one published, consolidated notice, rather than the five successive weeks of publication required under C.R.C.P. 4(g)). International service of process must be accomplished in accordance with The Hague Convention of Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, unless the respondent's address is unknown or the petitioning party seeks an alternative form of service and the responding party does not object. 1 Hague Convention art. 1, Nov. 15, 1965, 20 U.S.T. 361.

§ 40.2.1—Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Unions

One of the parties must have been domiciled in the state of Colorado for 91 days prior to the commencement of the proceeding in order for the district courts of Colorado to exercise jurisdiction over the marital relationship or a civil union. C.R.S. § 14-10-106(1)(a)(I).7 If one of the parties to a marriage satisfies the domiciliary requirement and the court obtains personal jurisdiction over the person of the other party, the court has jurisdiction under the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, C.R.S. §§ 14-10-101, et seq., to grant complete relief.8 However, personal jurisdiction over a party to a civil union is not required because any party entering into a civil union consents to jurisdiction in Colorado regarding any matter related to the civil union. C.R.S. § 14-15-115.9

If the non-resident spouse in a marriage is served by publication, the court has in rem jurisdiction over the status of the marriage under C.R.S. § 14-10-106, may make disposition of marital property located within the state of Colorado under § 14-10-113,10 and may determine parental responsibility under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).

If the non-resident spouse to a marriage is served under the domestic relations long-arm statute, C.R.S. § 13-1-124(1)(e), the court may determine support and maintenance to children and spouses in any action for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, declaration of invalidity of marriage, or support of children, and may divide property and allocate parental responsibility if appropriate under the UCCJEA. Jurisdiction for dissolution of marriage is established under the long-arm statute by maintenance of a matrimonial domicile within the state.11 However, jurisdiction over those issues remains in Colorado under the long-arm statute only if one of the parties to the marriage continues without interruption to be domiciled within the state after the other party has left.12

§ 40.2.2—Paternity and Support

Engaging in sexual intercourse within this state that may have resulted in the conception of a child in Colorado provides a basis for Colorado courts to exercise jurisdiction in determining the parentage of that child, if a verified petition is filed pursuant to the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA), C.R.S. §§ 19-4-101, et seq, or the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), C.R.S. §§ 14-5-201, et seq. One of the parties (to the conception) must be a resident of Colorado at the time the action is filed in Colorado to give the court subject matter jurisdiction to determine parentage, order modification of the birth certificate of the child, establish the duty of child support, recover a child support debt, order payment of the mother's reasonable expenses of pregnancy and confinement, and provide for medical insurance for the child.

Under UIFSA's long-arm...

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