Colorado family court law grants divorce on the basis of both no-fault and fault divorce grounds via a “Dissolution of Marriage”. There is a 90 day waiting period after the petition for dissolution of marriage has been filed and additionally, one of the spouses must have lived in Colorado for 90 days prior to filing for divorce. The same timeframe applies to legal separation in Colorado.
Colorado is considered a conservative Christian state. According to the latest report, the recent estimation has calculated a divorce rate of 0.38% per capita per year. Annulment is a rarely-used procedure in Colorado, because it is rather a difficult option as compared to obtaining a divorce. Grounds for annulment are few and hard to prove.
Uncontested Divorce In Colorado
An uncontested divorce is the speediest and easiest means of divorce in Colorado. This is possible when both parties agree to the terms. It is also called a “decree upon affidavit”, which means you will not need to attend court in person – a written affidavit will do.
Uncontested divorce procedures are best suited to simple divorces and can be done in Colorado by yourself, without the need for an attorney (a sample “affidavit for decree without appearance of parties” can be found here). However if children and property are involved, you will require a separation agreement in which case, consulting with a lawyer is recommended. The court fee for an uncontested divorce in Colorado is currently $195 and the process takes a minimum of 90 days.
Legal Separation in Colorado vs Divorce
A legal separation is different to a divorce in that the couple remains married, but they are legally bound by an agreement. The process can be similar to an uncontested divorce and a formalized “separation agreement” will be made with the court. You (or your spouse) must have lived in Colorado for at least 90 days before filing and you need to file in the County in which you live.
Similar to divorce, spouses must wait 90 days for the Decree of Legal Separation to be issued. There are several reasons you may consider a legal separation rather than divorce. In many cases there are financial incentives, health benefits, military or children to consider. When you are legally separated you are still married and cannot re-marry. With a legal separation you have the option to cancel at a later date or move to divorce.
Divorce Grounds in Colorado
Colorado is one of the states of the US with low divorce rates. There is only one legitimate divorce ground in Colorado, which is:
Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage
Irretrievable breakdown is the only divorce ground in Colorado. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage stands for a marital relationship breakdown beyond any prospect of reconciliation. You and your spouse can file for divorce if so is the case under this divorce ground in Colorado. The court of law under the divorce laws of Colorado will investigate the matter if you or your spouse deny or declare a claim of your spouse of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in Colorado.
Colorado Divorce Laws
Colorado has following divorce laws:
In Colorado to file a petition for dissolution of marriage, you have to make sure the court has authority over your case. Colorado divorce laws allow the court to make an announcement of dissolution only when:
- One of the parties has been domiciled in Colorado for ninety days preceding the start of the proceeding.
Documents Required to File Divorce
According to Colorado divorce law the most important documents needed for starting and finalizing the dissolution of marriage are:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
- Decree of Dissolution of Marriage
There are some other documents which you may require, which are:
- Notice to Set Non-contested Hearing
- UCCJEA Information Sheet
- Summons for Dissolution of Marriage
- Domestic Relations case Information Sheet
Distribution of Property
Colorado divorce laws settle the issues of property and debt between the spouses by a signed agreement called:
- Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award
This agreement is declared by the court within the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
Change of Name or Restoration of Name
In a divorce, there is no hard and fast rule for obtaining the previous name. But usually it is achieved by requesting the court.
According to the Colorado divorce laws, if the spouses do not agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may request a counseling period, which is minimum one and maximum 2 months long. To settle other disputes the court may order arbitration.
In Colorado divorce laws, a complicated formula is used in order to award alimony. When alimony is requested in a temporary order, it is assumed to be from the higher income spouse to the lower income spouse. The formula that the Colorado divorce laws use is that if the total income of both spouses is less than $75,000 then the amount awarded is 40 percent of the higher income less fifty percent of the lower income. If the value comes in negative or is zero then alimony is not awarded.
If the total income is more than $75,000 then other factors are taken in consideration by the divorce court.
When you get divorced in Colorado, the divorce laws prioritize the best interest of the children when deciding child custody issue. However, the parents may also submit a parenting plan along with the request for joint custody. The non-custodial parent is awarded visitation rights.
A model called The Income Shares Model is used to determine Child support in Colorado. It is based on the gross income of both parents as set forth by Colorado divorce laws. It is paid until the child turns 18 or until the child has graduated high school, child support is expected to be paid. Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for comprehensive divorce laws information in your state.
Colorado Annulment Laws
Dissolution of marriage and annulment are two different ways of terminating a marriage. Divorce is a decree ending a marriage, while annulment is a court’s order that the marriage is void. In Colorado, annulment is much easier to get as compared to a divorce. However to claim a Colorado annulment one must prove a legal and specific ground. According to Colorado annulment laws grounds for annulment are:
Lack of Consent
The consent of both the parties is essential in every marriage. If at the time of marriage both or any of the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or is partial mentally handicapped, the claim for Colorado annulment becomes legal.
If physical incapacity in your spouse is adversely affecting your married life, you can obtain Colorado annulment.
There are strict Colorado laws against underage marriages. A marriage under 16 or 18 years without the consent of parents or guardians can be annulled under Colorado annulment laws.
Misrepresentation or Fraudulent Act
Fraud or misrepresentation is a legal Colorado annulment ground. If a fraudster commits any fake contract or misrepresents him or herself, his/her partner can claim annulment according to the Colorado annulment laws.
A marriage under compulsion and duress is void and you are entitled to file for Colorado annulment if so is the case.
Incest means ‘sexual intercourse with a blood relation ’. A marriage of persons closely related like father and daughter, son and mother, uncle and niece, or grandmother and grandson, is void. A claim for Colorado annulment is legal if such in such a case.
If a person is already married and enters into another marriage with someone else, it is called bigamy. Colorado annulments laws declare bigamy as a legal ground for annulment.
Colorado Divorce Laws Frequently Asked Questions
- How long must I reside in Colorado to be eligible for the filing of divorce?
Under the Colorado divorce law you are required to reside in Colorado for at least 90 days to be eligible for filing of divorce.
- How long does an uncontested divorce take in Colorado?
The minimum time is 90 days. This is due to the mandatory 90-day waiting period before the Court can enter the divorce decree. In theory, it could be issued on day 91.
- How long does a legal separation take in Colorado?
The minimum time is also 90 days and will depend on how simple or complex your case is.
- Does a divorce in Colorado require the full 90 days or are there any exceptions?
Yes, there are exceptions. For example, if you are abused by your spouse then you can file for divorce before the completion of 90 days.
- What if my spouse resides in another State?
If your spouse resides in another State you can still file for divorce in Colorado.
- Is simply my testimony of irretrievably broken marriage enough for divorce?
Yes, one spouse’s testimony of irretrievably broken marriage is enough to file for divorce.
- What is the filing fee for divorce in the State of Colorado?
As in any other state the filing fee depends on the county you reside in. At time of writing it is $195.
- Do Colorado divorce lawyers charge per hour for their services?
Yes, Colorado divorce lawyers charge you on a per hour basis. The fee is normally anywhere from $90 to $300 per hour.
- How much will my divorce cost me?
This really depends on the rate that you and your Colorado divorce lawyer decided upon and the time taken for your divorce to be settled.
- Since, my spouse and I agree on everything, why do we need to hire Colorado divorce lawyers?
If your spouse and you agree on everything you wouldn’t need to file for divorce. Colorado divorce law makes it clear that in the court of law, each spouse will be represented separately.
- Can I represent my own interests in court?
Absolutely, you can represent yourself in court but, it is generally not advisable.
- Does the State of Colorado recognize common laws?
Colorado recognizes common laws but it must be proven by the both the spouses. Cohabitation must exist between the couple to be legally called common laws.
- Is Colorado a No-Fault State?
Yes, Colorado is a no fault State. In fact in the State of Colorado you can’t file for divorce with grounds.
- How long does a couple have to be separated before filing for divorce in Colorado?
The State of Colorado doesn’t have any requirements for separation before divorce.
- How much does an uncontested divorce cost in Colorado?
The current court cost for an uncontested divorce in Colorado is $195.
- How much does a legal separation cost in Colorado?
The current court cost for a legal separation in Colorado is $195 (same as divorce).