What To Expect During Your Colorado Divorce Process
The dissolution of a marriage is an emotionally, mentally, and financially stressful event for everyone involved. Knowing what to expect during the Colorado Divorce Process can help reduce some of the discomforts. Here are some of the milestones you may experience during your Colorado divorce.
Initial Filing for Divorce in Colorado
Your divorce proceedings begin with the filing of an official petition for marriage dissolution. This paperwork can be filed by either or both partners. Since Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, you won’t need to specify a reason for seeking the dissolution. Stating that the marriage is irretrievably broken is enough to justify the process.
However, in order to qualify for a divorce in Colorado, you will need to establish domicile in the state for at 91 days prior to the filing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to live in Colorado. Instead, filers can show that they intend to live in the state by:
- Maintaining a local voter’s registration
- Having a Colorado mailing address
- Registering a car with the state
- Owning residential property in the state
If paperwork is filed by one partner, the other has 21 days to respond to the petition. If the other partner lives out of state, the response time is extended to 35 days.
If both parties are able to agree on all issues related to child custody, support payments, and property distribution, a decree of dissolution of marriage can be entered by the Court ninety-one days after filing with no further actions necessary. If your situation is more complicated, additional hearings, conferences, mediation and possibly a trial may be needed to get everything sorted out.
After the initial filing of a petition for marriage dissolution, court officials will create a schedule for the remainder of the process. This usually happens about six weeks after the petition is filed. A representative of the Colorado courts will meet with the petitioner and respondent to determine what hearings are necessary to decide property distribution, child custody, and any other issues that the divorcing parties can’t agree on.
- The first meeting, called the initial status conference, is an opportunity for both parties to meet in the presence of a family court facilitator or magistrate judge and decide which issues need to be addressed.
- During the financial disclosure process, both parties reveal their financial debts and assets.
- A temporary orders hearing allows the courts to make short-term decisions on things like payment of bills, support and child custody. These arrangements are subject to change with subsequent proceedings.
- Discoveries are court-ordered requests for information. This is usually done in the form of written questions, called interrogatories and request for production of documents. Answers provided to these questions are to be treated like testimony on a witness stand. Lying on these forms has serious legal consequences.
Regardless of the type of petition filed, the law for the Colorado divorce process requires divorcing partners to take part in settlement conferences. These meetings are designed to resolve any leftover issues and set both partners up for their best life after the divorce is finalized. These can include:
- Parenting classes for those with minor children
- Mediation sessions, including one prior to the final hearing.
- A non-contested permanent order hearing in cases where both parties agree that all matters have been resolved to their mutual satisfaction
The number and purpose of settlement conferences depend on the details of your case. Talk to your legal representative for more details on what you can expect with your case.
In some cases, partners have a hard time agreeing on some matters. When this happens, a trial occurs. For divorce in Colorado, a judge will review the details of the case, hear testimonies of the parties and their witnesses, and make a legally binding decision based on the presented evidence. Also called a permanent orders hearing, a divorce trial can take a long time to resolve. However, this may be the best option for those who aren’t able to get their partners to agree on important details. Any established temporary orders remain active until the presiding judge changes them or issues new orders.
You don’t have to navigate the Colorado divorce process alone. I’m Jennifer Lewis, one of the partners of Lewis & Matthews. I’ve had my own personal experiences with divorce, so I know how challenging it can be to handle alone or even with some guidance. I am here to help walk you through the entire Colorado divorce process while advocating for your best interests. With sympathetic and knowledgeable legal representation, you can get through your divorce with minimal distress and wasted time. We are your source for compassionate and experienced legal guidance. From initial filing to final orders, we’ll stand by you throughout the entire Colorado divorce process to ensure you get what you need to start your new life on the right foot. Our representatives take care of all the legal legwork so you can concentrate on rebuilding.