Divorce in Colorado (with or without children)
Divorce in Colorado follows a legal process that involves several steps. Here is a general overview of the divorce process in Colorado:
Find an Attorney:
You should seek an attorney whenever you are considering a divorce, to ensure that your interests are represented. We have a team of highly skilled attorneys that can help you along the way.
Filing the Petition:
The first step in initiating a divorce is filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the district court in the county where either spouse resides. The petition includes information about the marriage, such as the names of the parties, grounds for divorce, and requests for child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and property division.
Serving the Petition:
After filing the petition, the other spouse must be served with a copy of the petition and a Summons. Service can be done by a process server or through certified mail with return receipt requested for personal service, or a waiver of service from your spouse.
Upon service to the other person, the court places an injunction on the case. This prevents either party from causing waste or ending their obligations they were meeting previously.
Response and Counterclaim:
The served spouse has a specific timeframe (typically 21 days) to respond to the petition. They can either file a response or, if they have claims of their own, file a counterclaim for divorce.
Both spouses are required to disclose their financial information, including income, assets, debts, and expenses. This is usually done through a process known as Mandatory Financial Disclosures, where each spouse provides the necessary documentation.
If there are pressing issues that need to be addressed during the divorce process, such as child custody, support, or the use of marital property, either party can request temporary orders from the court. These orders establish temporary arrangements until the divorce is finalized.
Negotiation or Mediation:
At this stage, the spouses, along with their respective attorneys, can attempt to negotiate a settlement agreement that addresses all relevant issues. Mediation can also be used as a means of alternative dispute resolution to help facilitate negotiations.
If the divorcing couple has children, both spouses are typically required to attend a parenting class approved by the court. This class provides guidance on co-parenting and helps parents understand the impact of divorce on children.
If the spouses reach an agreement on all issues, a settlement agreement is drafted and presented to the court for approval. If the court finds the agreement fair and in the best interests of the parties involved, it will issue final orders, officially granting the divorce.
If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement, the case may proceed to trial. Each party presents their arguments, and the judge makes decisions on contested issues such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance.
Decree of Dissolution:
Once the court has issued its final orders, a Decree of Dissolution is prepared. This document legally terminates the marriage and outlines the terms of the divorce, including property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance.
It’s important to note that divorce proceedings can vary based on individual circumstances and complexities involved. It is advisable to consult with a family law attorney in Colorado to understand the specific requirements and processes that may apply to your situation.