Posted by: Vernon Ready
The stress of getting a divorce or separating from your spouse can take a toll on your life, and you may have lots of questions going through your mind.
What will happen to your home, your assets, or your children? What will change regarding your insurance? How long will it take until you can move on with your life? Where do you even begin?
Each divorce case is different. However, the state of Colorado is committed to fair distribution of property and timely proceedings. Below are 7 key facts to keep in mind while preparing to file for divorce in our state.
Filing for Divorce requires Multiple Forms. To begin divorce proceedings, you (or you and your spouse) must obtain and complete the appropriate paperwork. All of the forms can be obtained here. Make sure to fill out:
Colorado allows you and your spouse to file jointly. If you file jointly, you can cut down on the amount of paperwork to fill out. For example, you will not need to file a Summons. Filing jointly will also speed up the process of a divorce, since you will not have to take the time to serve papers to your spouse.
Different forms are required for spouses with children and spouses without children.
Colorado also charges a fee of $195 to file for divorce.
You Cannot File for Divorce Unless You Have Lived in Colorado for 90 Days. After you have been a resident for 90 days, you can begin divorce proceedings.
Divorce Takes Over 90 Days. You and your spouse must wait at least 90 days between filing for divorce and the Court issuing a final decree. If you file separately, the 90-day waiting period begins when your spouse receives his or her Summons and files a response.
You Must Provide a Full Picture of Your Financial Situation. To proceed with your hearing and properly divide marital property, a court needs thorough, detailed information on your financial status within your marriage. The following documents should be included with your financial information:
These forms have to be notarized as well.
Colorado is an equitable distribution state. A judge will divide marital property based on the value of the property, the present and future economic situations concerning each spouse, and the contribution of each spouse to obtaining and maintaining the property.
A judge will not divide property based off of marital faults. Colorado is considered a “no-fault” state and is not concerned with assigning fault to either spouse. (In fact, divorce isn’t even called “divorce” in our state, but rather “dissolution of marriage.”)
What exactly is marital property? It is defined as any property acquired within the marriage. There are a few exceptions: personal gifts, property exchanged with non-marital property, and property acquired after divorce filings have begun will not count as marital property.
If a couple can agree on who will possess different pieces of marital property after the divorce is finalized, the court will not assign ownership. The court also cannot divide non-marital property.
You and your spouse may require mediation. Different jurisdictions handle mediation differently, but it may be required before presenting your case in court. Mediation often helps each party come to a more reasonable agreement.
Parents filing for divorce may also have to attend a parental education program. This will walk you through the divorce process and the possible affects on young children. The program also offers advice on co-parenting and how to manage joint custody.
You may not have to appear in court. By signing an Affidavit for Decree without Appearance, the Court is allowed to grant a divorce even if the parties do not appear in court for a hearing. However, if you and your spouse cannot agree on major issues, you will have to appear in court.
There are alternatives to divorce. You may be hesitant to file for divorce for a variety of reasons. In Colorado, you have two alternatives: legal separation and declaration of invalidity of marriage.
A legal separation does not technically end a marriage, and you will not be able to marry someone else while legally separated. Religion and health insurance benefits are two reasons why couples may decide to choose legal separation over divorce. More information on how legal separation works in Colorado can be found here.
You May Need a Divorce Lawyer. If you and your spouse cannot agree on major issues or you need guidance throughout the divorce proceedings, consider hiring a knowledgeable Colorado divorce attorney. It is possible to find an affordable, helpful lawyer who will fight for your rights in divorce court.
About the Author:
Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.