What Are the Steps to a Colorado Divorce?

A divorce is a legal process that can take months to complete. Before a Broomfield resident begins the first steps to ending their marriage, they should be sure that they understand just what they will have to do to complete their divorce. This post should in no way stand in for specific legal advice, but readers may review its informative content as a starting point to understand this sometimes-complex legal procedure.

Residency Requirement

Divorces are jurisdictional and not everyone can seek a divorce in the courts of Colorado. Specifically, Colorado courts may only be used by individuals who have residents of the state for at least 90 days. Before filing for divorce a person should ensure that they meet the residency requirement for starting the process.

Divorce Petition

In order to get a divorce a party must ask for it. The formal way that a person may ask a court to dissolve their marriage is to file a petition. A petition for divorce includes information about the party filing it, their spouse, and what they wish to accomplish through their filing. There is generally a fee associated with filing a divorce petition. One of the requirements of the divorce petition is an inclusion about the grounds on which the divorce should be based.

Grounds for Divorce

Colorado only recognizes one basis for divorce: an irretrievably broken marriage. In the past, grounds based on fault were available to divorcing parties but these bases have been done away with under the law. An irretrievably broken marriage is one in which fault does not necessarily play a role in its demise.

Notice and Response

After a petition for divorce is filed the receiving party must be notified of the petition. In other words, the non-filing spouse must be given notice of the proceedings and must have a chance to respond to their spouse’s claims. A responding party may go along with the divorce petition or they may offer defenses to claim that the court has no jurisdiction over them.

Negotiations & Hearings

In some divorces the parties agree about how to handle their shared responsibilities. They may be able to come to terms about the custody and support of their children, their property division, and even spousal support concerns. In other divorces the parties may not be able to agree about anything. With the help of their attorneys and the court parties may negotiate and argue for what they believe is right for the outcome of their marriages.

Waiting Period

A party cannot walk out of court with a divorce the day that they file their petition. Depending on factors related to notice and negotiations, a final divorce decree may not be entered for months after the divorce process even started. It is important that individuals talk to their family law attorneys about what their unique divorce timeline may be.

This post offers a snapshot of some of the issues that individuals may encounter when they choose to divorce. It is not a comprehensive review of all of the procedural steps that must be taken and should not serve as legal guidance to any reader. When questions about divorce come up individuals can always turn to their trusted family law attorneys for support and answers.