How to File for Divorce in Colorado

How to File for Divorce in Colorado

Colorado has a lot going for it.  Denver, its capital city, is routinely named one of the country’s fittest cities and best places to live.  And the state’s economy is among the strongest in the nation. The state also has relatively straightforward divorce procedures, and some of the basics are laid out in this article.  

Here is how to file for divorce in Colorado

Grounds for divorce when you file a divorce in Colorado

A court will grant a divorce in Colorado if it finds that –

  1. At least one of the parties has been living in the state as a resident for at least ninety days
  2. The marriage is “irretrievably broken,”
  3. More than ninety days have elapsed since the case began.

Colorado has rejected all “fault” grounds for divorce, meaning a spouse cannot seek a divorce because the other spouse committed adultery or cruelty.  Divorce is only granted in Colorado because the couple wants to split up.

Issues resolved in a divorce

The law in Colorado requires that before a divorce is granted the court must consider property division and the parental responsibilities for “any child of the marriage,” including whether one of the parents is entitled to child support.  That said, the court can order the divorce and then wait until after that to issue a final order on these other issues.

Issues resolved in a divorce

Decide if you are working together in court

Divorce is always easier if you are able to work in conjunction with your spouse.  In Colorado, you can file a joint petition, meaning both spouses come into court together asking for a divorce.  This allows you to avoid the “serving” your spouse with the divorce papers.  

If your spouse is not on the same page, then you have to prove to the court that your spouse received your petition.  

This requires having someone not involved with the case, like a process server or a law enforcement officer, personally deliver the papers and then provide proof of service to the court.

The court will then hold an initial status conference.  You can discuss with the judge the status of your case and what you might need from the court.  The court will schedule future deadlines and hearings. If you think you can work out an agreement with your spouse, then the court may schedule you for mediation or a settlement conference.  These are both processes where a professional mediator or a judge, respectively, will try to work out an agreement.

If you cannot reach an agreement, your next step will probably be discovery.  That is a process where each side can request information from the other. You may want copies of all your spouse’s bank statements, for example, so you can know how much property you have to split up.  After discovery, there may be additional attempts to settle. Finally, if no settlement is reached, you will have a contested hearing. You may need to bring witnesses and paperwork to prove your side of the case, and your spouse will do the same.  The judge will then rule on issues related to your money and childcare

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