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  • Writer's pictureBrian R Boney

Your Comprehensive Guide to Divorce in Colorado

Divorce Law Attorney in Colorado

Did you know that according to data from the American Psychological Association, about 40-50% of married couples in the United States end up divorcing?


In Colorado specifically, the divorce rate stands at 3.7 per 1,000 residents, as reported by the CDC. This statistic, while reflective of a national trend, also underscores the importance of having knowledgeable legal support when facing such life-changing decisions.


Here at Boney Law Firm, we understand that behind every case lies a unique story. That's why we bring years of specialized experience in Colorado's family law landscape to serve as your roadmap to a clearer, more hopeful future.


First Things First: Colorado Divorce Types

No-Fault Divorce

Colorado operates under a no-fault divorce principle, meaning that the court doesn’t require parties to prove fault or blame to dissolve the marriage. And the only ground needed here is an assertion that the marriage is "irretrievably broken."


You don't have to prove who did what or why–you simply need to acknowledge that the marriage has reached a point where it can't be fixed.


Also, this approach aims to lower the emotional temperature, helping both parties focus on moving forward rather than digging into the past.


Contested Divorce

When you and your spouse can't see eye-to-eye on crucial matters like who gets what, who owes what, and who gets custody of the kids, the court steps in to resolve these disputes, potentially leading to a trial. And since these can get complicated, it often means more time, more stress, and yes–more expenses.


Uncontested Divorce

In these cases, both of you agree on the major issues, making the process smoother and quicker. So less about fighting battles and more about finding mutual ground, leading to fewer court dates and legal fees. Some couples walk this path with minimal legal help, while others choose light guidance to ensure everything is in order.


Mediated Divorce

A neutral third party, known as a mediator, assists both of you in reaching agreements on contested issues. This setting is less confrontational than a courtroom and can preserve a sense of teamwork. This is more often chosen by those who believe that, with a bit of help, they can reach agreements that work for them well.


Collaborative Divorce

On this trail, both of you have guides (your attorneys) trained in collaborative law, plus experts like child custody advisors and financial planners. The goal? To solve the puzzle of your divorce together–outside of court.


A team effort where everyone's working towards the best outcome without the threat of litigation hanging overhead. Although–if this cooperative approach doesn't work out–you'll need to start over with new guides for litigation, providing a strong motivation to find common ground.


The Colorado Divorce Law Process

Divorce Law Process in Colorado

How to File for Divorce in Colorado

Residency Requirement

Before you can file for divorce in Colorado, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for a minimum of 91 days prior to filing the petition.


Filing the Petition

The process officially begins here–When either one or both parties file an "Initial Petition for Divorce" with the court. It's your formal way of telling the court, "This path has come to an end, and I need to find a new direction." This document outlines the grounds for divorce, which, in Colorado, is based on the marriage being "irretrievably broken".


Initial Status Conference

Within 42 days of filing your petition, you'll encounter what could be considered an early base camp: the initial status conference. This is where you'll get a clearer view of the landscape ahead. Timelines, expectations, and preliminary discussions about how the divorce might proceed are set here.


Serving Your Spouse

If you are the one who filed the petition, you're required to serve your spouse with the divorce paperwork. This way, they will be informed about the legal process and will have a chance to prepare for what's coming. Don't forget to take this step seriously and ensure they get the necessary paperwork as soon as possible.


Response

Then, once served, your spouse has the opportunity to respond. This is also their chance to agree with the direction you've proposed or to suggest an alternate route. Note that their response sets the tone for the next phase of your process here, whether it be a collaborative path or one that requires more negotiation and guidance from the courts.


Discovery

This phase is all about gathering as much information as possible as you need to make sure you have all the facts. You have to gather all the information about your assets, debts, income, and expenses. A bit like detective work!


Interrogatories

These are written questions that you need to answer under oath during a divorce, usually related to your finances, assets, and other important matters that are relevant to the divorce proceedings.


Document Requests

Both parties can ask each other for documents such as financial statements, property valuations, and employment records–anything that's relevant to the divorce proceedings.


Depositions

Either party may be required to answer questions under oath in a deposition setting–a chance to clarify, expand upon, or explain the details mentioned in documents or interrogatories. This can be intense, but they're also invaluable for uncovering and clarifying the information critical to fair negotiations or court proceedings.


Mediation

This process is much like finding an expert, someone who helps you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse decide on the best path forward, together.


Purpose

With the help of a neutral third-party mediator, you and your spouse have the opportunity to sit down and openly discuss every aspect of your divorce.


Whether it's who gets the family home, how you'll co-parent, or how assets and debts are divided, the mediator is there to facilitate a constructive conversation to find common ground on these often contentious issues.


Benefits

For starters, mediation is typically faster and less expensive than going to trial—a plus for anyone keen on starting their next chapter sooner rather than later.


More importantly, it lowers the emotional toll by fostering a less confrontational atmosphere. Instead of fighting it out in court, you're working together to solve problems, giving you both more say in the outcome.


Outcome

When both of you successfully negotiate the terms, the mediator will help draft a settlement agreement. This document, once signed, is submitted to the court for approval. If approved, it becomes legally binding, meaning you've effectively navigated your divorce without the stress, time, and expense of a trial.


What You Need To Know: Colorado Divorce Laws

Property Division

When you file for divorce in Colorado, how your property is divided is governed by equitable distribution laws. And unlike community property states, where assets acquired during the marriage are divided equally, Colorado courts strive for a fair, but not necessarily equal, division of both assets and debts.


Also, only marital property is subject to division, this includes most assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage. While separate property, such as gifts or inheritances to one spouse and assets owned before marriage, generally remains with the original owner.


Child Custody

Factors influencing this determination include the wishes of the parents, the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community, and the mental and physical health of all individuals involved.


Moreover, Colorado favors arrangements that allow the child to maintain frequent and continuing contact with both parents, which often leads to shared custody (joint custody) arrangements. Sole custody can be awarded based on factors such as the ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions jointly and the geographic proximity of the parents to each other.


As parents, you are encouraged to come up with a parenting plan that outlines how you both will share responsibilities and parenting time. If you cannot agree, the court will intervene and establish a plan based on what it deems in the child’s best interest.


Filing for Divorce in Colorado? Seek Professional Guidance


Navigate Complex Laws with Ease

Colorado's divorce laws, with their nuances around equitable distribution, residency requirements, and more, can feel like a maze. But imagine having a knowledgeable guide by your side, someone who knows every bend and twist of these paths. They can shed light on the path ahead and ensure you don't overlook critical legal intricacies.


Strategic Advantages

Professionals help you understand all your rights, evaluate your options, and develop a plan tailored to securing the best possible outcome for your unique situation.


And they don't just develop a strategy. What they're aiming for here is to secure the best possible outcome for you. Think of it as having a strategist in your corner, someone who knows how to play to win for you.


Secure Your Interests

Attorneys are adept at navigating the complex financial aspects of divorce, too! From asset division to support calculations–they'll ensure your future isn’t left to the roll of dice. Also, they'll advocate for your parental rights, striving to reach arrangements that serve the best interests of your children.


Ease the Burden of Paperwork

They will be in charge of handling the paperwork with precision and ensuring everything is filed correctly and on time. This not only streamlines your process but also spares you from the stress and other potential pitfalls of just doing this alone.


Objective Advice During Emotional Times

Professionals serve as an impartial voice of reason, they help you see beyond just the immediate emotions to consider the long-term implications of your decisions.


Champion for Fair Settlements

They know how to present your case compellingly, ensuring you have a powerful advocate in your corner. It's like having a champion who ensures the settlement is not just fair–but favorable to you!


Mediation Mastery

They work to facilitate constructive discussions, aiming for resolutions that avoid the need for court intervention, which can save you time and emotional energy.


Proactively Address Potential Issues

Your attorney can identify areas that may lead to disputes and work proactively to address them, saving you time, money, and stress in the long run.


I Can Help

Let's talk about your legal divorce concerns and find the right solution for you. I am here to protect your rights and give you the service you’re entitled to.


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