Q: What are the grounds for divorce in Colorado?
Answer: Colorado is considered a “no fault” state. This means that
you do not need the consent of your spouse to obtain a divorce, nor do
you need to provide the court with reasons why you want the divorce. In
Colorado, the courts can enter a divorce decree upon showing that:
- One of the parties has lived in the state for 90 days prior to the commencement
of the proceedings;
- The marriages is irretrievably broken;
- And those 90 days or more have elapsed since the court acquired jurisdiction
over the other party.
Q: What is the difference between a divorce and legal separation?
Answer: Be careful with the term “legally separated”. Oftentimes clients
will believe that because they live apart during a pending divorce, they
are under some special, legally recognized status. They will say they
are “legally separated”. That is NOT what Colorado courts
mean by “legally separated”. Instead, you needs to wait until
the end of the legal process to have a different legal status.
The court will either issue:
- A decree of dissolution of marriage, or
- A decree of legal separation.
- “Dissolution of Marriage” is the term Colorado law and Courts
use to mean Divorce. A divorce in Colorado establishes the financial obligations
of the divorcing parties, and finally and completely ends the legal relationship
for all purposes. Property must be divided, debts assigned, and, if appropriate,
spousal support determined. For parties with children, the divorce process
also requires resolving parenting issues and establishing child support.
- A “Decree of Legal Separation” must also address these same
issues, and has much of the same effect as a decree of dissolution of
marriage. However, there are some key differences. Probably most importantly,
parties whose marriage has ended with a Colorado decree of legal separation
cannot remarry another person until they take further legal steps (to
covert the decree to one of a dissolution of marriage). There are other
important issues that arise as well and a family law attorney can explain
the benefits and differences between legal separation and divorce.
Q: What are “Temporary Orders”?
Answer: As a Colorado divorce could take up to a year to complete, often there
are pressing issues which need to be resolved on a temporary basis. Either
party may move the court for an order for the temporary payment of debts,
use of property (such as the family residence), child support, maintenance,
parenting responsibilities, and attorney fees. Unless an agreement can
be reached, a contested hearing is usually scheduled where evidence of
the need for specific orders is heard by a judge. Exhibits and testimony
are usually presented. Temporary orders will remain in effect until permanent
orders are issued or the proceeding is dismissed.
Q: What is the 90-day waiting period?
Answer: In a Colorado divorce, there is a statutory 90 day waiting period from
the filing of the case or service upon the other party, whichever comes
later. This means the Court cannot issue a Decree of Dissolution until
the 91st day. The law does not require that the parties separate during
this period. The intent of the legislature is to establish a “cooling
off” period so parties can properly evaluate their decision regarding
whether or not the divorce should be finalized. In reality, however, most
divorces take much longer. Only if the parties agree upon each and every
issues and put together a full agreement will a divorce resolve in that period.
Q: What is Mediation? How often is it used and what are the advantages?
Answer: Mediation is a tool frequently used in the divorce process. Divorce litigation
often involves a tremendous emotional strain. Any agreement that can be
reached by mutual accommodation to alleviate continuing conflict and ongoing
harm to both the parties and/or to the minor children is a definite plus.
Accordingly, many District Courts require mediation before they will set
a final hearing for Permanent Orders. At a mediation session the parties
sit together—with or without their attorneys—and examine the
issues remaining in the domestic relations’ proceedings. They use
a third party neutral mediator to assist them in resolving these issues
on a mutually agreeable basis. Many cases are successfully mediated. This
not only saves the parties substantial costs and fees but also helps the
couple find a mutually acceptable solution.
Q: What are parenting classes?
Answer: Most of the District Courts in Colorado now require each parent involved
in a divorce proceeding to attend a parenting class before the Court will
enter the final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. Parenting classes usually
take approximately 8 hours and most of them are offered on a Saturday.
Some are available on several midweek evenings. These classes are very
informative and many people who have attended believe that they helped
them deal with communication and other issues surrounding parental responsibility.
Contact us online or call 303-539-4355 for more information.
Please note that
nothing presented on this website is intended to be legal advice. Every situation
and every client’s legal matter is different and this website is
merely meant to provide information to the public. Nor does this website
create an attorney-client relationship – an attorney-client relationship
has not been formed
until a signed fee agreement has been made. If you want legal advice or have questions regarding a divorce,
contact us to speak with an attorney.