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If you’re considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed for divorce, your attorney will most likely encourage you to reach agreements with your spouse on your own rather than taking him or her to court. That’s because litigation is costly and time-consuming. When you force the judge in your case to reach a decision without your agreeing to it first, you’re more likely to feel like you “lost.”
When you and your spouse agree on all the major issues in your divorce without going to court, you may be eligible for what’s called an uncontested divorce. State law refers to an uncontested divorce in Colorado as decree upon affidavit, which means a judge can sign your divorce paperwork without your having to argue over the details in court.
Uncontested divorces are typically simpler and more cost-effective than contested divorces. However, when couples can’t agree, they need to hash out the details in court. That’s a contested divorce.
In a contested divorce, a judge must examine all the evidence, which can include extensive financial records or expert testimony from psychologists and other professionals. One spouse may try to bring up the couple’s “dirty laundry,” alleging infidelity or otherwise trying to discredit the other spouse.
Court battles like these can be incredibly difficult for all parties. Contested divorces usually cost quite a bit more money, because you’re each paying your attorney to research, to put together legal documents as evidence, and to represent you in the courtroom. Even worse, they take more time. You have to wait to get on the court’s calendar; and if something goes wrong at one hearing, you’ll have to schedule another.
When you are wondering about an uncontested divorce in Colorado and whether it will fit your situation, count on the team at The Cossitt Law Firm to have your best interests in mind. Once you hire us, our team is ready to answer any questions you may have. We will thoroughly explore all of your options in your divorce settlement, and we will give you advice on how we think you should proceed. The final decision in the case always rests with you, though.
An uncontested divorce still requires you to go through a legal process, but it’s generally a lot easier than the process that a contested divorce requires. You don’t have to go to court, but your attorney must still file your divorce paperwork with the court and arrange for someone to serve papers on your spouse. The judge will then decide whether you need to attend a hearing.
Your lawyer will file an affidavit with the court in the county where you live. (If your spouse has already filed for divorce, you’ll need to talk to your attorney about the next steps for you.)
You need to serve papers on your spouse only if you file the affidavit singly. If you file it jointly with your spouse, you don’t have to deliver a copy to him or her.
The judge assigned to your case will decide whether or not you need a hearing. If you don’t, the judge will sign your decree, which legally dissolves your marriage. If you do, your attorney will go to court with you. Sometimes judges just want to ask questions or address a separation agreement to ensure it is fair.
So how does a no contest divorce work in Colorado? First, understand that not everyone can make an uncontested divorce work. Couples who can’t agree on items like parenting plans and how to divide their property won’t be able to use this process. They’ll have to show up in court.
These are the requirements for an uncontested divorce in Colorado:
If you’re not sure whether your situation fits the definition of what is an uncontested divorce in Colorado, it’s a good idea to talk to our Fort Collins divorce attorney, who can give you case-specific advice.
In order for a marriage to be dissolved in Colorado, a number of important legal steps must first take place. Decisions must be made regarding how any assets or debts acquired during the marriage will be divided. This will include the home a family has purchased as well as any credit card bills that have accumulated over the years. Even more importantly, when children are involved, plans must be developed around where the children will live, what schools they will attend, and the parenting time each parent will exercise with the children.
In an uncontested divorce, at the outset of the case both parties have come to agreement about all issues including:
Even in uncontested divorces, Colorado Law requires all parties to complete the following:
The Dissolution of Marriage process requires both parties to file specific documents with the Court. These documents detail for the Court the terms the parties have agreed upon with respect to all issues. The following documents will need to be filed with the Court:
Parties often inquire about the timeline to reach a final Decree of Dissolution. No Decree can be issued until all matters relating to the marriage have been agreed upon and all Mandatory Financial Disclosures have been filed with the Court and exchanged between the parties.
Once all of these matters have been addressed, the earliest date that a Colorado Court can issue a Decree for Dissolution is 91 days after filing.
Here are some of the most common questions we hear from clients wondering how a no-contest divorce works in Colorado.
Because people do not necessarily need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce in Colorado, some people prefer going this route. However, even though the two divorcing parties can use an online service or free paperwork from the Colorado Judicial Branch in a no-contest divorce, hiring a divorce lawyer will ensure that you complete the paperwork properly and that you follow all of the legal rules. Another option is to hire a Colorado divorce mediator to help you work through a few final disagreements you and your spouse may have before filing the no-contest divorce paperwork with the legal system.
To start the process of filing for an uncontested divorce in Colorado, you will need to file a divorce petition with your local county district court. If you and your spouse agree to file the paperwork together as co-petitioners, there’s no need to serve your spouse with the divorce papers. If you file the paperwork alone, you will have to serve your spouse, as spelled out in Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-107 (4)(a). You then will have to file an affidavit that asks the court to issue the divorce decree without your needing to appear. The court will review the paperwork and determine whether it is legal without requiring appearances from the two parties or whether you and your spouse need to appear in court for a hearing. Depending on your situation, you may need to file other paperwork with the court, including a:
A typical contested divorce proceeding in Colorado will take up to nine months. However, when wondering how long it takes to receive an uncontested divorce in Colorado, the length of time will be closer to three to six months. The longer it takes you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to file your affidavits, the longer it will take to finalize the divorce. The legal system requires that at least 91 days pass from the filing of the affidavits before a judge can finalize the uncontested divorce.
No, you do not. You and your spouse can go through the process of filing for a contested divorce instead. However, you cannot stop the divorce from happening by simply refusing to go along with your spouse’s request for an uncontested divorce. Your spouse can divorce you with or without your consent.
For Colorado to have jurisdiction over a divorce, the marriage must be irretrievably broken and at least one of the parties must have resided in Colorado for a minimum of 90 days.
At The Cossitt Law Firm we know that your case is personal and multifaceted. We tailor our representation to your family and individual needs because we understand that all relationships and families are unique.
We offer consultations to discuss your concerns and how the law can protect your well-being. Contact us today to learn how we can support you. We’ll answer all your questions and explain spousal maintenance, property division, child custody and other aspects of divorce so you can get the peace of mind you deserve.
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.
If you have children and are going through a divorce, one of the hardest things to do is to tell your children. Learn more about the effects of divorce on children.
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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