Filing for a divorce in Colorado isn’t complicated, but having an attorney guide you through each phase can make the process less intimidating. As a no-fault divorce state, Colorado courts do not assign either party fault for the dissolution. Consider the following steps to file for divorce in Denver.
- Talk with someone you trust. Individuals considering divorce should discuss the matter with a friend, mentor, spiritual leader, or family member to gain a proper perspective on their situation before proceeding. Of course, discussing the matter with one’s spouse is likely to be a part of this process.
- Hire a reputable divorce attorney. The best way to find an experienced divorce lawyer that works well with you is to do a bit of research and be sure to consider reviews. It might help to chat with your top options before deciding, then reflect on the attorney’s personality, experience, and caseload.
- Reside in Colorado for 91 days. Being a resident of Colorado for at least 91 days is a requirement to get a divorce in the state. The divorce must also be filed in the county where the person or their spouse resides. For circumstances involving children, they must live in Colorado for no less than 182 consecutive days before filing or since birth unless they are less than six months old.
- Complete the necessary forms and pay the filing fees. The forms that need to be completed for a divorce in Denver include a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Case Information Sheet, and a Summons for Dissolution of Marriage (unless both parties are filing together). In some situations, other forms must also be filed, and couples with children must also provide a Parenting Plan.
- File the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Typically, the individuals in a divorce case are referred to as the “petitioner” and the “respondent.” In a scenario in which the couple is filing together, they are called the “petitioner” and “co-petitioner.” If both parties are residents of Colorado for at least 90 days before filing, the divorce may be filed in the county where either one of them resides. Once the petitioner files, the other party must be served with the court papers. At that point, they must file a response with the court within 21 days.
- Negotiate a settlement agreement. Once the paperwork is filed, the court will schedule an ISC - initial status conference - within 42 days. Before this conference, each individual must complete a Sworn Financial Statement. This provides a detailed account of property and financial information. When children are involved and one of the individuals is requesting alimony (now referred to as “maintenance”), the courts may require additional documentation. When the parties do not agree on the terms, the court may order mediation. If this approach does not work, the court may set a hearing to settle any disputes.
- Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. When the parties have reached an agreement, the courts will review the details to ensure fairness. If a hearing is necessary to develop an agreement between the two parties, the court will hear the case. Then, it will make a ruling and issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage to finalize the divorce. This will include child support orders and the parenting plan when children are involved.
What Is the First Step in Filing for Divorce in Colorado?
In the state of Colorado, an individual must state that their marriage is irretrievably broken before divorce is considered. The first step in doing this is to file for divorce. When a party files the initial petition, fault is not considered, and there is a minimum 91-day requirement that their spouse must be domiciled in the state.
Where Do You File for Divorce in Denver?
If an individual needs to file for divorce in Denver, CO, they can file their paperwork at the City and County Building, located at 1437 Bannock Street, Room 256. Interested parties can also find Denver courthouse information online or call (720) 865-8301 with questions.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Denver, Colorado?
Every situation is unique, so there is no guarantee of how long any specific divorce will take. Although the necessary steps involved with one’s case will determine the ultimate timeline, most divorces take roughly six to nine months in Colorado. Keep in mind that if a divorce is contested, that may add to the time it takes to complete.
Does a Couple Have to Be Separated Before Divorce in Colorado?
In many cases, tensions are at a breaking point in the home when couples face a divorce. For this reason, it is sometimes recommended that one of the individuals move out of the house while the divorce is pending. However, in Colorado, it is not mandatory for couples to be legally separated before filing for divorce. Some couples continue to live together while their divorce proceedings are taking place.
Can You Get Divorced Without Going to Court?
If a couple wishes to get a divorce without ever entering a courthouse in Colorado, it is possible. For couples who wish to avoid going to court, the best way to ensure this will happen is to consult with an attorney and follow their advice. In some cases, this is the only way to avoid going to court.
Can You File for Divorce Online in Colorado?
It is possible to file for divorce online in CO, but not in every county. Interested individuals can find a list of counties that are eligible on the Colorado courts e-filing page. State law, however, does not allow anyone to complete the entire divorce process online. Some parts of the divorce process one can do on their own online include consulting with divorce attorneys, filing for divorce (with some limitations), filling out divorce forms, and preparing documents.
Reach Out to the Team You Can Trust
At Johnson Law Group, we understand how difficult divorce is for couples in Colorado. Our experienced legal professionals handle every client with care and compassion. Visit our website today to find out how we can help make the process less stressful for you.