How to File for a Divorce in Colorado

How to File for a Divorce in Colorado: A Step-by-Step Guide

Divorce is an emotionally challenging and complex process. If you find yourself considering a divorce in Colorado, it’s crucial to be aware of the legal procedures involved. This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to file for a divorce in Colorado and answer some frequently asked questions.

Step 1: Understanding Colorado’s Residency Requirements
Before filing for divorce in Colorado, one of the parties involved must have been a resident of the state for at least 91 days.

Step 2: Selecting the Appropriate Forms
To initiate the divorce process, you need to complete the appropriate forms. In Colorado, these forms are available on the Colorado Judicial Branch website or at the local courthouse.

Step 3: Completing the Forms
The forms require detailed information about your marriage, assets, debts, and other relevant factors. Ensure accuracy and completeness when completing these forms.

Step 4: Filing the Forms
Once the forms are completed, you must file them with the district court in the county where you or your spouse reside. You will need to pay a filing fee unless you qualify for a fee waiver.

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Step 5: Serving the Documents
After filing, you must serve a copy of the divorce papers to your spouse. This can be done through personal service, a process server, or by mail with a Return Receipt Requested.

Step 6: Waiting Period
In Colorado, there is a mandatory 91-day waiting period from the date of filing until the divorce can be finalized. This waiting period allows for the possibility of reconciliation.

Step 7: Negotiating a Settlement
During this waiting period, negotiations regarding child custody, spousal support, and division of assets and debts occur. If an agreement is reached, it can be filed as a stipulation, simplifying the divorce process.

Step 8: Finalizing the Divorce
If an agreement is reached, both parties must sign the final documents and submit them to the court for approval. Once the court reviews and approves the documents, the divorce will be finalized.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How long does a divorce take in Colorado?
The duration of a divorce in Colorado varies depending on the complexity of the case. It typically takes a minimum of 90 days due to the mandatory waiting period.

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2. What are the grounds for divorce in Colorado?
Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, meaning neither party needs to prove the other’s fault. The only accepted ground for divorce is the “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.”

3. Can I file for divorce without an attorney?
Yes, you can file for divorce without an attorney, but it is recommended to seek legal advice, especially if there are complex issues involved such as child custody or significant assets.

4. How is property divided in Colorado?
Colorado follows the principle of equitable distribution, which means that property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. The court considers various factors, including each party’s financial situation and contributions to the marriage.

5. What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?
Legal separation allows spouses to live separately without terminating the marriage. Divorce, on the other hand, dissolves the marriage entirely.

6. Can I change my name during the divorce process?
Yes, you can request a name change during the divorce process, and it will be granted as part of the final divorce decree.

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7. How is child custody determined in Colorado?
If the parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will make a decision based on the child’s best interests. Factors considered include the child’s relationship with each parent, their wishes, and the ability of each parent to provide for the child.

8. Can child support be modified?
Yes, child support can be modified if there are substantial changes in circumstances such as a change in income or the child’s needs.

9. Can I remarry after the divorce is finalized?
Yes, once your divorce is finalized, you are free to remarry.

Remember, divorce is a complex process, and seeking professional guidance from an experienced family law attorney is always recommended.