If you are considering or are ready to dissolve your marriage via divorce, understanding your options, as well as Colorado divorce law and the filing process, can be important to protecting your rights and interests as you move forward.
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.
Call (970) 488-1887 or Email Us for
Answers about How to Protect Your Interests Before, During & After Divorce
Our attorneys 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.
What Are Grounds for Divorce in Colorado?
Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. This means that the only ground for divorce in Colorado is the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.
If spouses do not agree that a marriage is irretrievably broken (or if there is a possibility of reconciliation), counseling, mediation or arbitration may be ordered by the court.
When Should I File for Divorce? Should I File Now or Should I Wait to File?
Whether you should file for divorce now or wait to file will depend on your circumstances, needs and goals. While a Fort Collins divorce lawyer at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC can provide you with more specific advice, in general, it is recommended that:
- You do NOT wait if your safety or the safety of your children is in jeopardy – For instance, if domestic violence or abuse is a factor, moving forward with divorce and seeking protective orders (as well as emergency custody orders if children are involved) is strongly advised.
- You wait if there are no threats to your and/or your children’s safety and if:
- You do not meet the residency requirements to file for divorce in Colorado – You or your spouse has to have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days in order to file for divorce in the state. If this residency requirement has not been met, you can file for legal separation until the requirement is fulfilled (and then convert the separation to divorce once the residency requirement has been met).
- You have not taken any steps to prepare for divorce – There are various steps you can take before filing for divorce to facilitate the process and protect your interests as you proceed. For instance, gathering financial records, inventorying your marital property and setting up your own bank account and/or P.O. Box can be smart moves in the pre-divorce planning stage.
Where Should I File for Divorce?
Generally, your divorce filing should be submitted to the family court in the county in which you or your spouse resides. If you (or your spouse) has maintained residency in another state and/or is in the military, you may have the option of filing for divorce in another state (and additional rules or requirements may apply to your case).
A Fort Collins divorce attorney at the Cossitt Law Firm, LLC can advise you of your options regarding where to file so you can make the right decision for you and your family.
What Forms Are Needed to File for Divorce in Colorado?
The forms you need to officially file for divorce in Colorado1 will depend on the details of your case like (but not necessarily limited to) whether:
- You are filing for divorce on your own or jointly (with your spouse).
- The divorce is contested or uncontested.
- There are children involved in the divorce.
Once the proper divorce forms are completed, they will need to be submitted to the court with the required filing fee(s). A complete list of the current filing fees associated with Colorado divorce petitions is available here.
Please note that, once you file the divorce paperwork, you will be known as the “petitioner” in the case, and your spouse will be referred to as the “respondent.”
What Happens after I File for Divorce?
After your divorce paperwork has been properly submitted to the court, the next steps in the process can include:
- Serving the other party with a copy of the divorce papers – 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).
- Waiting for your spouse to file a response – Once your spouse has officially been served with the divorce papers, (s)he will have 21 days to file a response. 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 what your spouse’s stance on the issue(s).
The next stages of the divorce process will depend on whether any issues of the divorce are being disputed. If not, a final hearing may be scheduled. If so, the next steps may involve hearings, mediation and/or discovery.
Protect Your Interests, Family & Future in Divorce & Beyond: Contact 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.
Call (970) 488-1887 or email our firm to set up a free 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 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:
- Keep you informed about the progress of your case, as well as your options, at every step
- Work tirelessly – both in and outside of the courtroom – to help you obtain positive outcomes.
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