Understanding Colorado divorce law, along with the filing process your options, can help you protect your rights and interests as you end your marriage.
To help you figure out the next steps, the following provides some general, yet essential, answers to common questions about filing for divorce in Colorado.
Whenever you are ready for information and advice specific to your situation, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Fort Collins divorce lawyer at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC.
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We have extensive experience representing clients in various types of divorce cases. Compassionate, skilled, and diligent, we can help you take the right steps to file for divorce and get through the process as favorably as possible.
Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. This means that the only ground for divorce in Colorado is the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. In plain English, that means there is no hope of reconciliation. It also means that divorce papers don’t need to cite infidelity or other misbehaviors as the reason for dissolving the marriage.
Nevertheless, some marital misbehaviors (depending on what they are) may be very important later in a divorce case when it’s time to deal with certain issues, like the division of marital property or whether certain terms of a prenuptial agreement have been triggered.
Although divorcing can be one of the few things that spouse agree about, sometimes, parties don’t see eye to eye on this matter either. Whether there are disagreements over ending the marriage, the court may order spouses to participate in counseling, mediation, or arbitration.
The answer depends on your circumstances, needs, and objectives.
A Fort Collins divorce lawyer at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC can provide you with more specific advice after hearing the details of your situation. In absence of that, here are some general recommendations regarding when to file for divorce promptly versus when you would want to consider waiting to file for divorce.
Do NOT wait to file for divorce if your safety or the safety of your children is in jeopardy. For instance, if there is a history and/or risk of domestic violence or abuse, it’s likely in your best interest to move forward with your divorce as soon as possible and seek protective orders (and potentially emergency custody orders if children are involved).
If there’s no danger or threat of danger to your (or your children’s) safety, waiting to file may be a good idea (or necessary) if:
Generally, your divorce petition should be submitted to the family court in the county in which you or your spouse resides. If you (or your spouse) have maintained residency in another state and/or are in the military, you may have the option of filing for divorce in another state. Additional rules or requirements may apply in those cases.
A Fort Collins divorce attorney at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC can explain your options and advise you of the best place to file, based on your unique situation.
The forms you need to officially file for divorce in Colorado (available here) will depend on the details of your case like (but not necessarily limited to) whether:
Once the proper divorce forms have been completed, they will need to be submitted to the court with any required supporting documents. In some cases, you may need to have court forms notarized before filing them.
The paperwork you need to support a divorce petition (or response) typically pertains to the issues that are central to the divorce case. Depending on what those issues are, supporting documents for Colorado divorce petitions can include (and may not be limited to):
Having all of the necessary supporting documents for your divorce can help move your case along. It may also set you up for a smoother road ahead or, potentially, lower divorce costs.
Contact a lawyer for help. There may be alternative ways to track down the paperwork you need. In some cases, you may be dealing with a spouse who is intentionally trying to hide assets. Either way, having an attorney in your corner is the key to safeguarding your interests in these more complex situations.
It depends on the forms you need to file for your divorce case. While you can see more details about Colorado court filing fees here, keep in mind that:
Once you file your divorce paperwork and pay the fees, you will be known as the “petitioner” in the case, and your spouse will be referred to as the “respondent.” You will also receive a Case Management Order (CMO), listing upcoming court dates, additional forms you need to complete, and/or other key information about your case.
Once you formally open a divorce case in Colorado, the next steps will depend on your situation and, specifically, whether your case is contested or uncontested. Here’s a look at how the divorce process usually moves forward after the initial petition has been filed.
If you are not filing for divorce jointly, you will have to make sure your spouse is served a copy of the divorce petition. Service should be done by a process server or some other disinterested (neutral) third party who is at least 18 years old. If your spouse cannot be located, you may “serve” the papers via publication, as long as you follow the specific rules for this type of service.
Once you have served your spouse, you will then need to file a form with the court to confirm that you have met this obligation.
Once your spouse has officially been served with the divorce papers, (s)he will have 21 days to file a response if (s)he resides in Colorado. If your spouse lives out of state, the deadline for filing a response increases to 35 days.
The response should detail your spouse’s stance on the issues of your divorce. In particular, the response should explain whether your spouse agrees or disagrees with any aspect of your divorce petition. If there is any disagreement, the response should explain your spouse’s stance on the issue(s).
From here, the divorce process will depend on whether any issues of the divorce are still points of dispute:
Contact a lawyer for professional counsel as you review your copy of the divorce petition and consider your options. As noted above, there is limited time to file a response, and your best move will depend on case-specific factors, as well as your needs and goals. The move you make at this stage, which will likely be one of the following, can change the course of your case:
Given that divorce can touch so many aspects of your life—and that the outcome of your case can have lasting impacts—you don’t want to gamble when it’s time to respond or deal with the case. You want a skilled lawyer in your corner. You want a Fort Collins divorce lawyer at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC.
If you are preparing for divorce or need help resolving any family law issue, contact an experienced Fort Collins divorce lawyer at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC to find out more about your options and how we can help you.
Contact or email our firm for a 100% confidential consultation.
If you are unable to make it to our offices, we provide consultations via phone and Skype.
At the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC, our Fort Collins divorce attorneys are devoted advocates who exclusively focus on divorce and family law cases. We partner with each of our clients, providing personal attention and unique, practical solutions to fit their needs and help them achieve their long-term goals.
With the Cossitt Law Firm on your side, you can be confident that you have superior representation at every phase of your case. You can also count on our lawyers to:
From offices in Fort Collins, we represent clients throughout Larimer County and the state of Colorado.
1: Downloadable divorce forms from the Colorado Judicial Branch
If you have decided to get a divorce, the next steps can seem daunting. Here we provide a few answers to common questions about filing for divorce.
Depending on your family, financial, and personal circumstances there are many factors you will want to consider when filing for divorce. Find out what type of divorce is right for you.
How long will it take for the Court to issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage? The earliest a Colorado court could issues the divorce decree is 91 days after the petition was filed. However it can take longer than 91 days, as expert valuations and reports may be needed.
How can a divorce attorney help with an uncontested divorce? Uncontested divorce generally means the parties have agreed upon all issues, or they believe they will be able to easily agree on all issues. A divorce attorney can help with an uncontested divorce by ensuring everything drafted properly.
What are mandatory financial disclosures? Financial disclosures are required of both parties in every divorce case, within the first 45 days after the petition has been filed. The exchange of mandatory financial disclosures is intended to put each party on a level playing field as it relates to the finances of the divorce.
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