Though many divorces are complicated and can grow more so as spouses argue over custody, property, and other sensitive issues, the basic steps for divorce in Colorado remain the same among all marriages. If you are considering a divorce and have no idea where to begin, this overview of the process can help.
The process begins when you and/or your spouse decide to end the marriage. In order to do so in Colorado, one or both of you must be a legal resident of the state for at least 91 days prior to filing for divorce. You must also allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
To begin divorce proceedings, you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Case Information Sheet, and Summons, and have copies of each of the documents personally served upon your spouse. Your divorce attorney can help you with the paperwork, as well as the process of serving the papers. Keep in mind that if the divorce paperwork is not filed correctly, the court can reject your case.
Once your spouse is served, he or she has the option of disagreeing with the details listed in the Petition. This is known as “contesting the divorce” and triggers the divorce proceedings in court. If he or she agrees with and signs a Co-Petition, it is considered an uncontested divorce and will likely be settled more quickly than one that is contested. There are also instances in which the petitioning spouse can be granted a divorce even if the respondent spouse refuses or is unable to respond. Your divorce attorney can help you determine the timeframe and procedure if you are having a difficult time with having your spouse personally served or your spouse refuses to respond to the Petition.
During the divorce proceedings, issues involving assets, debts, personal property, spousal support, child custody, child support, and anything else that needs to be settled will be addressed. These issues can be settled between spouses if they are willing to work together with their attorneys to agree upon a settlement, or will be determined by the court at a hearing if the spouses are unable to agree.
If the parties settle the case, a Separation Agreement is drafted. If the parties have a hearing, the Court will enter Permanent Orders. The terms of the Separation Agreement or Permanent Orders will be incorporated into a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, which is signed by the court, making the divorce final.
The time in which it takes to finalize a divorce varies a great deal based upon whether spouses agree or need the court to intervene. Even when spouses are amicable and are able to agree on the issues in an uncontested divorce, the process can be complicated. If you have questions about divorce in Colorado or you need assistance filing for your divorce, contact Montgomery Little & Soran, PC at 303-773-8100.