When a marriage is broken beyond repair, a couple may decide divorce is the best option for all parties involved.
However, unlike getting married in Colorado – which simply requires the signing of a marriage license (common law marriage is also recognized in the state) – getting divorced is much more complex and legally intensive.
If you are considering divorce, our experienced Denver divorce lawyers can assist you throughout the process.
Get our free legal guide Top 10 Things to Know to Avoid a Divorce Disaster to learn about some of the most common issues that can lead to major legal issues during and after your divorce.
Colorado Divorce Requirements
While many states have fault-based grounds for divorce, Colorado is purely a no-fault state. This means that a party to a marriage who is seeking divorce cannot pursue the divorce based on the grounds that their spouse has done something, such as committed adultery; instead, divorces are pursued because the couple has irreconcilable differences.
While you do not have to prove fault in a divorce, there is a residency requirement. The residency requirement is 90 days.
Petitioning for Dissolution of Marriage
An individual seeking a divorce must file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the courts. At the time that you file your petition, you will also need to pay a fee. According to Filing Fees, Surcharges, and Costs in Colorado State Courts, the filing fee for a petition for dissolution of marriage is $230.
After you have filed your petition, you will need to serve your spouse with the documents.
Property Division, Child Custody & Support, and Alimony
The three biggest issues in divorce are usually property division, child custody and support, and alimony or spousal support.
Colorado law requires that a court divide a couple’s assets in divorce in a way that is equitable. The court will consider a number of factors in makings its decision as to what is equitable, including the contribution of each spouse to the marriage, the economic circumstances of each party, and increases or decreases in the value of separate property, among other things.
A child custody decision must be made in the best interests of the child. This determination may be based on the child’s wishes (if the child is of sufficient maturity), the emotional and physical well being of all parties involved, the ability of each parent to encourage love and affection between the child and the other parent, and any other factor that the court deems relevant.
Both parents are required to financially support their child. Child support is based on the number of children you have, the monthly income of each parent, the amount of time each parent spends with the child (the noncustodial parent is typically responsible for paying child support), and any special needs of the child.
Spousal support, maintenance, and alimony all refer to the same thing: a sum of money paid by a financially independent person to their financially dependent ex-spouse. Marital misconduct cannot be considered in an alimony determination, per Colorado Revised Statutes Section 14-10-114.
Work with an Experienced Denver Divorce Lawyer
Even if you and your spouse are in complete agreement about the terms of your divorce – which is rare – it is still within your best interest to work with an attorney who can review your case and its paperwork before the divorce is finalized. If there are any disputes in your divorce, your attorney can advocate for you.
Contact the Denver divorce lawyers at Robinson & Henry, P.C. to learn more about Colorado laws and how to begin the divorce process.