Frequently Asked Questions
Answers from an Experienced Denver Family Attorney
What are the grounds for a divorce in Colorado?
The only grounds for dissolution of marriage in Colorado are that the marriage is irretrievably broken and there are irreconcilable differences between them. To file for a divorce, one of the parties must be a resident in the state for a minimum of 90 days before the filing.
Do you have to prove fault for the divorce to be approved?
In the state of Colorado, there is what is called "no fault" divorce. This means that your marriage can be dissolved without having to prove that your spouse did anything wrong. The court is not interested in why or who wants the divorce, the only thing that must be proven is that there are irreconcilable differences and the marriage is broken.
How long could the divorce take?
A divorce in Colorado will not become official until at least 90 days have passed after the completion of service. The process will go much quicker if both parties are able to agree on the terms and conditions of the divorce. If they cannot reach an amicable decision however, they will have to wait for a court date and settle the matter in court. In cases like this, the divorce could easily last up to six months or so.
What other issues are handled during the divorce?
During a divorce case, several other issues must be addressed and resolved before the divorce can be successfully dissolved. When two parties are breaking physical ties, the assets and property must be divided, spousal maintenance and
child support will be determined and a
child custody agreement must be put into place. The divorce expenses and court fees must also be handled. Once these issues are decided on by the court, they are referred to as "permanent orders," if the two parties reach the final agreement themselves, it is called a "separation agreement."
What will happen once the divorce petition is filed?
As soon as the divorce is filed, there are certain limitations that both parties must abide by until the divorce is final. These restrictions are put into place to protect the rights of both parties and legal action can be taken if they are violated. The automatic orders are as follows:
- The parties should not pester or harass the other party
- The children cannot be taken out of state without a court order or permission from the other parent
- No property can be transferred, hidden, or destroyed without the consent of the other party
- Insurance policies cannot be canceled by either party
What is parenting time?
The phrase "parenting time" is another meaning for child visitation time. This is the court ordered, scheduled time that each party is allotted to spend with the child. If there is no history of domestic violence, then the court will always give both parents visitation time so that the child's normal routine is not majorly changed and interrupted by the divorce.
What is alternative dispute resolution (ADR)?
Alternative dispute resolution is a way to resolve your divorce or family matter without having to go to trial. This is done by means of mediation which is where they come to a favorable conclusion themselves with the help of a neutral third party mediator. There is also arbitration which is also done outside the court. Arbitration is where both parties agree to have their case heard by a neutral third party and they will be bound to whatever the arbitrator decides. Using alternative dispute resolution is much more cost-effective and quicker option than settling your divorce in court.
How is marital property divided in a Colorado divorce?
If the parties cannot agree on how the marital property and assets should be divided then the court will rule on an equitable distribution. Equitable distribution does not necessarily translate to an equal distribution but to a distribution that the court deems fair and just based on a number of factors. These factors include what each party has contributed to the marital estate, including the contributions of a homemaker, the value of the property that is to be awarded to each spouse, the financial circumstances of the each spouse after the divorce, who will be providing the main care of any children involved, and other relevant factors.
What is the main difference between a conventional divorce and divorce mediation or collaborative divorce?
In a traditional contested divorce, the two parties retain divorce attorneys who argue their cases before the court so that the court can decide how such issues as child custody, property division, and spousal support will be settled. In divorce
collaborative divorce, these issues are decided through negotiation outside of the courtroom which allows the parties to maintain more control over the divorce settlement terms, is faster, less costly, and less adversarial. Agreements reached between negotiating divorce parties through these alternative methods often last longer and result in a more positive experience than litigated divorce.
What do I do if I can no longer pay for maintenance obligations set up in my original divorce decree?
When your financial circumstances change, whether due to a change in jobs, a job loss, reduced wages, a costly illness or accident, or other support or financial obligations, you may wish to seek a modification of the court order regarding support arrangements that was originally made. This can be done by petitioning the court.
What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?
There are always two kinds of divorces and they depend solely on the ability of the two parties to agree and communicate. A contested divorce is much more difficult and could take longer to resolve because the two spouses cannot see eye to eye and agree to the issues pertaining to their divorce. If they are not able to come to a mutual decision on terms and conditions, then the matter will have to go to trial. An uncontested divorce on the other hand, is when the two people are in complete agreement on every issue regarding the terms of the divorce. This does not mean that the decision to divorce is mutual, but rather they were able to come to agreeable decisions regarding the divorce, without going to court.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact a Denver family lawyer at the firm today!