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Wondering what the basic divorce process is like?

There really isn't such a thing as a "typical" divorce because no two marital situations are exactly the same; therefore, neither are any two divorces. Also, Colorado divorce laws may vary from another state's, so there's no "national standard" in place when it comes to divorce, either. There are, however, basic process steps that most divorces follow, with variables inserted according to individual circumstances, as warranted.

Especially if you have only been married once, you may be a bit nervous about navigating the civil justice system. You may also be wondering if you and your spouse will be able to achieve an amicable settlement when it comes time to negotiate all the different issues regarding child custody, property division and spousal support. The more you know about the process ahead of time, the better prepared you can be. It's also good to have resources on standby should any obstacles arise.

Your divorce might go something like this

Several terms usually coincide with marital break ups, including legal separation, dissolution of marriage and divorce. Some states have laws requiring legal separation before divorce. Dissolution is synonymous with divorce. In most states, the divorce process goes as follows:

  • You file a petition for divorce with a clerk of courts.
  • When you file your petition, you may write about any and all relief you believe you are due.
  • Your petition also identifies you, your spouse and any children you have together.
  • You must also inform the court of your reason/reasons for wanting a divorce.
  • The court then delivers your petition to your spouse.
  • Your spouse has a certain amount of time to respond.
  • The court may issue temporary orders regarding custody, visitation and support, to which all parties involved must adhere or be subject to legal punishment.

At some point, you'll enter a discovery process where you and your spouse fully disclose all assets and liabilities. Sworn testimony may follow as well. You also need to determine if you will enter litigation or use divorce mediation to resolve your differences concerning important topics, such as child custody, finances and property matters.

Once you develop a future parenting plan and fulfill any other requirement the court sets, you will await your final divorce decree. Hopefully, the whole process, from beginning to end, will be swift and low-stress; however, that's not always the case and, if you need outside support, it's good to know where to turn.

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