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Colorado Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Colorado Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Colorado Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

There are many milestones in life that we look forward to, but a divorce isn’t one of them. Nonetheless, it’s not uncommon for spouses to grow apart or develop problems with their relationship that bring their marriage to an end.

Whether you’ve decided to file for divorce in Colorado or you’ve been served with divorce papers by your spouse, you likely have many questions about the process ahead. What are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Colorado’s divorce laws?

What Are the Requirements for Getting Divorced in Colorado?

In order to get a Colorado divorce, at least one spouse must have been a resident of Colorado for 90 days or more before filing the divorce petition. The court also requires a 90-day waiting period between filing the divorce and signing the divorce decree. If the divorce involves children, they must have resided in the state for at least 181 days for the court to have jurisdiction over them.

Divorcing spouses should file for divorce in the county they’ve resided in. If they are separated and living in separate counties, the spouse who files for the divorce becomes the petitioner and typically chooses to file in the county where they reside.

Is Colorado a No-Fault Divorce State?

Divorcing spouses in Colorado only need to file on the grounds that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken.” Colorado is one of 17 states that doesn’t allow divorce on any other grounds or claims of wrongdoing by a spouse.

How Much Does Divorce Cost in Colorado?

The average divorce costs spouses between $10,000 and $15,000, but your cost could be much less if you and your spouse can come to mutually agreeable terms in a settlement agreement that doesn’t require resolving disputes in court. If the case goes to court to argue matters of property division or child custody, the expenses quickly mount.

Do Mothers Always Get Preferential Treatment for Child Custody?

Colorado courts have no preferences between mothers and fathers in child custody cases but instead, decide all custody matters based on the child’s best interests. The standard of “a child’s best interest” begins with the rebuttable presumption that continued close contact with both parents is in a child’s best interests. There are many options for sharing custody (parenting time) that work for families, including those with younger or older children.

How Are Assets Divided in Colorado Divorces?

Colorado is an equitable distribution of marital assets state rather than a community property state. This means divorcing spouses must divide and distribute their marital assets and debts in a way that a judge considers fair and equitable even if it isn’t exactly 50/50.

They may keep any separate assets that were theirs alone before the marriage, inherited by them during the marriage, or gifted solely to them during the marriage, but all property accumulated during the marriage is subject to division regardless of whose name is on the title or account.

Do We Have to Attend Mediation to Get Divorced in Colorado?

Unless you and your spouse agree on all terms of the divorce, it’s advisable to attend one or more mediation sessions. Mediation provides a neutral third person who is familiar with the state’s divorce property laws to help spouses compromise and reach mutually acceptable decisions to avoid court. Although not all Colorado counties make mediation mandatory, some counties require it. Also, if a case goes to court for one or more disputes, a judge may order spouses to attend mediation before returning to court.

How Do I Change My Name After the Divorce?

You can request a name change back to your previous name directly on your divorce petition through an affidavit for name restoration.

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Colorado?

The state requires a 90-day waiting period for divorce so even the most streamlined divorce with no disputes over property division or child custody takes at least that long. Otherwise, the amount of time a divorce takes depends on how long it takes spouses to arrive at a settlement agreement or argue each issue in court for a judge to decide.