Going through a divorce is never an easy time, but some spouses choose to minimize the emotional strife by filing for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is one in which the spouses agree to all terms and draft a settlement agreement without requiring a hearing or a judge’s decision on each aspect of the divorce.
Divorce agreements in Colorado include decisions on the equitable distribution of marital property, a parenting-time (child custody) schedule, child support payments, and in some cases, spousal support. It may also include provisions for which parent maintains their residence in the family home after the divorce.
When both spouses choose not to contest any of the matters in their settlement agreement, it’s the best-case scenario for a streamlined, efficient divorce process. Many divorcing spouses want to know, “How long does it take to finalize an uncontested divorce in Colorado?”
Do We Qualify for an Uncontested Divorce in Colorado?
If you and your spouse have any disputes over the division of your property, child custody, or support, then you’ll have to contest those issues in court for a judge to decide after you’ve each made your case. However, if you and your spouse can openly communicate and compromise and reach an agreement on any disputed matters either with your Denver divorce attorneys, through mediation, or on your own, you can move forward with an uncontested divorce.
In Colorado, there is a 91-day waiting period for a divorce. Even an uncontested divorce takes at least 91 days to complete since a court won’t finalize your divorce agreement until the 91st day after one or both spouses file the divorce petition. This required waiting period serves as a “cooling off” period to provide an opportunity for reconciliation. If spouses still determine to go their separate ways, the 91-day waiting period gives them time to make full financial disclosures and negotiate terms for their divorce agreement.
What Conditions are Necessary for a Judge to Approve an Uncontested Divorce Agreement?
In most cases, judges in Colorado are happy to avoid a divorce trial. Most judges will sign off on the spouse’s out-of-court agreement as long as it follows the law. This includes the following conditions:
- For spouses with children, both parties must agree to a parenting-time schedule in the best interests of the children. Typically, this is a shared custody schedule so the children have continued frequent close contact with both parents. However, if both parents agree to one parent retaining primary custody while the other has visitation rights, a judge is likely to sign off on the agreement
- The custody agreement must include appropriate child support according to the state’s guidelines
- The agreement must include a fair division of any shared marital assets
- Both spouses must sign the agreement
If spouses choose an uncontested divorce in Colorado, most judges are agreeable to signing an official degree under the spouses’ uncontested terms unless they suspect that one spouse signed the agreement under duress, it appears egregiously unfair to one spouse, or if it doesn’t follow the legal guidelines imposed by the state for the division of assets and child support.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce in Colorado?
Although it’s possible to file and complete an uncontested divorce in 91 days without an attorney in Colorado, it isn’t advisable. A judge may toss out an agreement that doesn’t follow the legal guidelines or isn’t properly executed. An attorney can help ensure the paperwork is diligently completed and filed correctly. Colorado divorce attorneys also help divorcing spouses resolve disputes and set up meetings with a professional divorce mediator to help iron out disputes without the need for court litigation.
An uncontested divorce in Colorado takes at least 91 days to finalize, but having a Denver family law attorney to ensure the process meticulously follows the legal guidelines is the best way to accomplish the divorce quickly and in as stress-free a manner as possible.