Westminster Divorce Lawyer

Whether you are contemplating a divorce or your spouse has served you with a divorce petition, you likely have questions and concerns about the divorce process in Colorado. You are not alone.

Many spouses seek the help of seasoned Westminster divorce attorneys to assist them with their divorce planning and execution. At Danielsen Westhoff, PC, our attorneys are experienced in all areas of divorce from preparation to negotiations and litigation.

Reach out to Danielsen Westhoff, PC, today for information about any of the following and more:

  • Filing for a divorce
  • Spousal property division
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Child custody and support

We will gladly answer your questions and guide you through the Colorado family court system.

Residency Requirements for a Colorado Divorce

Either spouse may file for a divorce, called a dissolution of marriage, in Colorado so long as at least one of the spouses was a resident of Colorado for 91 days immediately preceding the filing.

Colorado is a No-Fault Divorce State

Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. This means there are no grounds for divorce that blame or hold one spouse at fault for the breakup of the marriage.

Instead, marriages are dissolved because they are irretrievably broken.

Waiting Period for a Colorado Divorce

A final decree of divorce can only be entered after 91 days from the following:

  • The day the responding spouse was legally notified of the divorce
  • The day the responding spouse joined the divorce action as a co-petitioner
  • The day the responding spouse made an appearance in the case in any other manner

It is rare to secure a Colorado divorce in 92 days. Most divorce cases take six months to one year to finalize. Spouses who can reach an agreement on assets and child custody issues can typically obtain an order faster than those who need a trial.

The Colorado Divorce Process

With few exceptions, Colorado has a set divorce process for spouses to follow. This involves:

  • The filing of the divorce petition by the petitioner and the issuance of the summons
  • Service of the petition and summons on the respondent
  • Scheduling of hearings and dates for the exchange of information
  • Final financial disclosures and production of documents (discovery)
  • Settlement negotiations (ongoing) and mediation
  • Trial preparation in the event alternative dispute resolution fails
  • Final orders by agreement or trial

Divorcing spouses must exchange accurate financial and property disclosures. Failure to produce documents or producing faulty documents is a punishable offense in Colorado family court.

Property Division in Colorado

Colorado is an equitable property division state. Marital property is allotted between the spouses as fairly as possible, not divided 50/50. Marital debt is also equitably divided between the spouses.

While the separate property is typically not divided in a Colorado divorce, it can become commingled with marital property making it difficult to trace.

What is Marital Property in Colorado?

Colorado considers all property acquired during the marriage marital property regardless of how it is titled. Marital property is anything that holds value and can include:

  • Real estate equity
  • Business interests
  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks, mutual funds, and other investments
  • Frequent flier miles
  • Retirement accounts
  • Cars, trucks, and recreational vehicles
  • Household goods
  • Personal property
  • Pets
  • And more

Unless otherwise agreed upon by the spouses, marital property will be divided based upon its value at the time of divorce not separation.

How the Court Determines Equitable Marital Property Division

Many factors go into the court’s determination of an equitable marital property division. The court will examine:

  • Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of the property, including contributions as a homemaker
  • Any property set aside to either spouse
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of the division, includes the award of the family home to the spouse who cares for the parties’ children
  • Any Increase or decrease in the value of a spouse’s separate property during the marriage
  • The depletion of separate property for marital purposes

What is Separate Property in Colorado?

Separate property is property held by one spouse alone. Separate property is usually property owned by a spouse prior to marriage.

Separate property may also include the following:

  • Property gifted or inherited by one spouse only
  • Property set aside to one spouse in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  • Separate property kept apart and reinvested or exchanged as separate property

When separate property increases in value during marriage due to the efforts of the other spouse, that increase in value is marital property. When the spouse who owns separate property titles their property jointly with the other spouse, there is a presumption that the property was a gift to the marital estate.

Dissipation of Marital Property in Colorado

Spouses who use marital property for non-marital purposes may be subject to “recapture” upon divorce. For example, if one spouse spends $50,000 to pursue an extra-marital affair, the other spouse may receive a $50,000 offset prior to marital property division.

Assessing the Value of Marital Property in Colorado

Before property division can take place, all marital property must be assigned a monetary value. Spouses may choose to agree on the value of items like household goods and personal effects.

Real estate agents are normally used to appraise real property. Financial advisors may be necessary to set values for retirement accounts and investments.

Regardless of the type of marital property, experienced Westminster family law attorneys are in contact with professionals to assist with marital property valuations.

Dividing Marital Property in Colorado

Spouses in Colorado may agree on marital property division or request the court divide any marital property on their behalf. When dividing marital property, items may be assigned to either spouse, sold with any proceeds divided, or owned jointly.

Some spouses choose to co-own homes until their children are out of school or the market improves. Spouses who co-own businesses may prefer to keep their businesses intact.

Marital property division is an exercise in bartering. Spouses who can work together divide assets as equally as possible making up for asset inequalities with cash payments or debt distribution.

The Division of Marital Debts in Colorado

Marital debts are debts acquired by either spouse during marriage. It does not matter whose name in which the debt is held.

Debts are also allocated equitably, not split equally, in Colorado. Therefore, one spouse may assume a greater responsibility for the marital debt, a lesser responsibility, or both parties may share marital debt approximately the same.

Contact an Experienced Westminster Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce in Colorado can be complicated. When you need a knowledgeable, experienced partner to guide you through the Colorado divorce process, reach out to Danielsen Westhoff, PC.

Our skilled Westminster divorce attorneys can handle your divorce needs from reviewing orders to ensure your legal rights are protected to complex property division issues and child custody battles. At Danielsen Westhoff, PC, we tailor our representation to your goals and budget.

Learn your rights as a divorcing spouse. Contact the Westminster office of Danielsen Westhoff, PC, today at (720) 739-1770 or send us a message online.