How does divorce work and how long does it take?

If you are thinking about ending your marriage, it is understandable that you would have some questions about the dissolution of marriage process. Two big questions many people in Colorado may have are: How does divorce work and long does the process take?

Believe it or not, there is more than one way to get through the divorce process, so the answers to these questions are really not all that straightforward. Finalizing a divorce can happen rather quickly, or it can take time. It depends on how you approach the matter.

Getting started

Every divorce begins with an initial filing. Typically, one spouse completes this with the assistance of an experienced divorce law attorney. After filing the petition in court, the other spouse receives it and has up to 30 days to form an answer.

After this initial step, both you and your spouse will then have to decide how you wish to proceed. Out-of-court settlements occur in the vast majority of divorce cases. The couple accomplishes this through private negotiations, mediation or through a collaborative divorce process. Regardless of the method, each party will need to exchange any pertinent information so that they can fairly divide assets, reach custody arrangements and determine financial support.

What if we can’t agree?

If you and your spouse are struggling to agree on any aspect of your divorce, going to court may be necessary. Child custody issues are a great example, as they are often a source of contention during the dissolution process.

Example: You want sole custody of your children, but your spouse wants shared custody. You have gone the rounds with the assistance of attorneys and maybe even mediators, but you are not getting anywhere; this is where a judge may need to step into the picture. In this type of situation, a judge will look at a number of factors and then issue a custody order based on what he or she believes serves the best interest of the affected children.

Each party will have the opportunity to supply evidence that supports his or her position. A judge will take that information into account before issuing a final decision.

Finalizing the process

If you and your spouse come to agreeable terms out of court, you still need to submit your settlement agreement for court approval. If there are no issues, a judge will grant the dissolution. If your case goes to court, a judge will grant the divorce as soon as you have addressed and resolved all issues.

From start to finish, the divorce process can take a couple months or it can take much longer. As previously stated, it all depends on how you approach your divorce and how fast you and your spouse can reach terms that you both feel are fair. Whether you wish to settle the matter out of court or have issues that require a judge to intervene, an experienced attorney can help you fight for settlement terms that serve your best interests.