Understanding Colorado Divorce Laws: Grounds for Divorce

March 8, 2024

couple with wedding rings off on top of divorce papersAmong family law matters, divorce is widely recognized as one of the most emotionally challenging experiences individuals can go through. For residents of Colorado navigating the complexities of divorce, understanding the legal grounds for divorce is paramount. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the intricacies of Colorado divorce laws, shedding light on the grounds for divorce and providing insight for those considering or going through the divorce process. As always, we recommend that you contact our office if you have any family law matters. Our team is available to take same-day appointments and welcomes new family law clients. 

Colorado's No-Fault Divorce Principle 

Did you know that Colorado is a "no-fault" divorce state? This means a divorce can be granted without proving that one party is at fault. Instead, the dissolution of marriage can be based on irreconcilable differences.  

Irreconcilable Differences Meaning

"Irreconcilable differences" can refer to situations where disagreements or problems between two people are so significant that they cannot be resolved, leading to a breakdown in the relationship.

In the context of family law, it's commonly used as grounds for a no-fault divorce. This means that neither spouse is legally blamed for the breakdown of the marriage, and they simply cannot continue together.

Here are some critical points about irreconcilable differences:

  • It doesn't specify the cause: Unlike other grounds for divorce, like adultery or abuse, it doesn't pinpoint a specific reason for the breakdown.
  • Focuses on the outcome: It emphasizes the inability to maintain the relationship, not who or what caused the issues.
  • Examples: Common examples of situations that might contribute to irreconcilable differences include personality clashes, lack of communication, differing life goals, or financial problems.

Irreconcilable differences allow couples to end their marriage without assigning blame. This no-fault approach is designed to simplify the divorce process, minimizing conflict and promoting amicable resolutions whenever feasible.

Grounds for Divorce in Colorado

However, despite the no-fault principle, Colorado recognizes certain grounds for divorce that can influence various areas of the divorce proceedings. This can include property divisionspousal support, and child custody arrangements. While proving fault is unnecessary to obtain a divorce, understanding these grounds provides context and clarity to individuals navigating divorce.

  1. Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage: As mentioned, Colorado allows for divorce based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This broad ground encompasses situations where spouses can no longer maintain a healthy and functional relationship.
  2. Adultery: Although proving adultery is not required for divorce in Colorado, it can still impact the divorce proceedings, particularly concerning issues of spousal maintenance or alimony. Adultery may be considered when determining whether one spouse should receive support from the other.
  3. Abandonment: Desertion or abandonment by one spouse can also serve as grounds for divorce in Colorado. If a spouse has willfully left the marital home and remained absent for an extended period without justification, the abandoned spouse may seek a divorce on these grounds.
  4. Cruel and Abusive Treatment: Instances of cruelty or domestic violence can significantly impact divorce proceedings in Colorado. A spouse who has been subjected to physical, emotional, or psychological abuse may seek a divorce based on the treatment inflicted by the other spouse.
  5. Substance Abuse: Substance abuse, including alcoholism and drug addiction, can serve as grounds for divorce. Substance abuse issues can impact various aspects of divorce, including child custody and visitation rights, particularly if the safety and well-being of the children are at risk.
  6. Felony Conviction: Should one spouse be convicted of any felony and sentenced to imprisonment, the other spouse has the option to pursue divorce based on these circumstances. A felony conviction and subsequent incarceration can significantly impact the dynamics of the marriage, leading to its dissolution.

Consulting with Experienced Family Law Attorneys

While these are some of the grounds for divorce in Colorado, it's essential to consult with experienced family law attorneys. At Johnson Law Group, our team can help navigate the complexities of divorce proceedings effectively. Whether you're contemplating divorce or already in the process, we can help you protect your rights and reach a favorable outcome. Johnson Law Group is a trusted name in Colorado family law, providing compassionate and strategic representation to clients. With a deep understanding of Colorado divorce laws, we are ready to guide you through every step of the divorce process. Give us a call at 720-445-4444 or schedule a complimentary consultation today.


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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
Divorce doesn’t have to be dramatic. For the litigants, losing your spouse is significant enough. But you can choose the way it affects your daily life. The only guarantee I can give is that the feeling that you have right now will not be the feeling you end with. This is a season in your life, and it must be approached that way.
Our experience, dedication to Colorado families, and our success in each case we represent sets us apart from the competition. We are passionate about family and estate law. Our highly-qualified team will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible results in your case.


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