Divorce in Colorado
Divorce in Colorado is referred to as dissolution of marriage. In a dissolution of marriage proceeding, a couple will end their marriage, divide their marital property, and address income and expense issues. If there are children, a decision must be made about parenting responsibility including parenting time and decision-making. These matters can become emotional and complex. We can help you move forward with a better understanding of the options, resources, and potential solutions.
Options for Divorce in Colorado
There are numerous ways your dispute can be resolved, such as negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Depending on your circumstances, these differing ways to resolve your dispute may help you obtain favorable results, make the divorce less painful, and save money. When issues cannot be resolved by other means, you may need to go to court. In these situations, you will have an even greater need for a lawyer with experience in courtroom divorce hearings.
At Graf & Associates, P.C., we have the experience you need to resolve your divorce case. Our firm boasts the highest possible rating offered by Martindale Hubbell, an AV score.
Divorce Procedure and Timeline
The following is a timeline and list of documents and hearings that will occur in order to obtaining a divorce:
- File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: Either party must have resided in Colorado for more than 91 day before the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. A case cover sheet and summons are also required.
- Serve the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Summons on the other party. This is not necessary if the parties jointly filed the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
- Respond to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: Within 21 days of service of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the other party must admit or deny the statements in the Petition by filing a response. The Response is not necessary if the parties jointly file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The time for filing the Response is 35 days if the service was made on the other party in a different state.
- Initial Status Conference: The court will set an initial status conference within 42 days of the filing of the Petition. The hearing is usually before a magistrate or court facilitator. It is not an evidentiary hearing. Rather, it is intended as a checkup to see if the parties have provided their financial disclosures to each other and to determine if a temporary orders hearing is required. The Court will order parties with children to attend a parenting class and give a deadline for financial disclosures if they have not already been exchanged. The Court will also order mediation and may set a temporary or permanent orders hearings dates.
- Financial Disclosures: You must complete and provide to the other party a sworn financial statement listing your income, expenses, assets and debts. You must also provide three years of tax returns, financial account statements such as checking and saving account statements, credit card statements, mortgage statements etc.
- Mediation: If you cannot reach an agreement on your own, you will be required to attend mediation before the Court will allow a permanent orders hearing. If you cannot agree on a mediator, the court will require you to use the Office off Dispute Resolution (ODR), which provides mediators in the Courthouse.
- Temporary Orders: In the event the parties cannot agree on issues such as temporary possession of the marital home, temporary parenting time (visitation), temporary payment of marital bills, temporary child support, and temporary maintenance (alimony), the Court may hold a temporary orders hearing. This occurs with a magistrate and is usually scheduled for 2 hours to a half a day.
- Separation Agreement or Permanent Orders: In the event the parties reach an agreement on all issues such as division of property, child custody, maintenance (alimony) etc., a Separation Agreement is drafted and made an order of the Court. If the parties cannot reach an agreement on all issues, the case will be set for “permanent orders” which is a trial.
- Decree of Dissolution: The Court must wait 91 days after the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage before it can enter a Decree of Dissolution. Therefore, the permanent orders hearing, if necessary, will be scheduled more than 91 days after the Petition was filed. If a Separation Agreement was reached, an uncontested permanent orders hearing will be set; this is a quick hearing to confirm that the parties are accepting the Separation Agreement and that all of the other timelines and disclosures were complied with such as finishing the parenting class. In an agreement is reached, the parties can submit an affidavit for non-appearance and the Court will enter the Decree without a hearing.
- Post Decree Motions: Either party may file motions to modify child support, maintenance (alimony) or parenting responsibility (custody) after the Court enters the Decree of Legal Separation.