A Roadmap to Divorce in Colorado

March 28, 2024

Divorce is a challenging decision, and navigating the legal process can be overwhelming. If you're a Colorado resident contemplating divorce, this guide from Johnson Law Group's experienced family law attorneys will provide a roadmap to help you get started.

Residency Requirement in Colorado a couple with a lawyer signing divorce papers in front of them and two wedding rings on a book. Also, a road map leading from the paper to the rings.

The first thing to understand is Colorado's residency requirementAt least one spouse must have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days before filing a divorce petition. This residency period is crucial as it establishes the jurisdiction of the Colorado courts to handle the divorce proceedings. Meeting this requirement ensures that the legal process unfolds within the appropriate jurisdiction and complies with state laws governing divorce.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

There are two main types of divorce in Colorado:

  • Uncontested Divorce: This occurs when you and your spouse already agree on all the major issues encompassing the divorce, including division of assets and debts, child support (if applicable), spousal maintenance (if applicable), and parenting time (if you have children). An uncontested divorce is usually quicker and more cost effective than a contested divorce.
    • If children are involved, you need to already have an agreement on parenting time. This includes how many overnights the child (or children) will spend with each parent as well as how both parents will share decision making authority about the kids. 
  • Contested Divorce: If you and your spouse are not able to reach an agreement on one or more of the abovementioned issues, the divorce becomes contested. This process usually involves filing a petition with the court and potentially going through mediation or litigation to reach a resolution.

Uncontested Divorce Process

An uncontested divorce can be a smoother process, but it still requires the following specific steps:

  1. Gather Information: You'll need to gather financial documents like bank statements, investment records, and pay stubs. If you have children, you'll also need information about their needs and current living arrangements.
  2. Draft and File Divorce Documents:  An attorney can draft the necessary paperwork, including the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and any required agreements. They will then file the documents with the appropriate court.
  3. Serve Your Spouse: Your spouse must be formally notified of the divorce filing. This is typically done through a process server.
  4. Waiting Period: In Colorado, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period after your spouse is served before the court can finalize the divorce.
  5. Final Hearing: In some cases, an uncontested divorce may require a brief final hearing before the judge to finalize the details.

Contested Divorce Process

A contested divorce is generally more complicated and time-consuming:

  1. Filing the Petition: Similar to an uncontested divorce, the initial step involves filing a petition for divorce with the court.
  2. Discovery: This phase involves exchanging information and documents with your spouse to build your case.
  3. Mediation: Before going to court, Colorado often requires couples to attend mediation, a process where a neutral third party helps facilitate negotiations to reach an agreement.
  4. Negotiations: If mediation doesn't resolve all issues, your attorney will work with your spouse's attorney to negotiate a settlement.
  5. Trial: If negotiations fail, your case may go to trial. A judge will then decide on the unresolved issues.

Emphasis on Essential Documents

In Colorado, having essential documents ready for your divorce is crucial for several reasons:

  • Smooths the Process: Organizing documents upfront saves time and frustration during the divorce process. It allows your attorney to draft the petition efficiently, negotiate effectively, and potentially avoid delays in reaching a settlement.
  • Strengthens Your Case:  Financial documents like bank statements, investment records, and pay stubs provide evidence to support your claims regarding property division and spousal support (if applicable).  Complete and accurate documentation strengthens your case and helps your attorney advocate for a fair outcome.
  • Accuracy and Transparency:  Colorado requires both parties to submit detailed financial disclosures. Having documents readily available ensures accurate and transparent disclosure, which is essential for a fair and equitable settlement.
  • Reduces Conflict: Organized documents can help minimize disputes during negotiations with your spouse. When both parties have a clear picture of your financial situation, it can lead to more informed and productive discussions.
  • Prevents Delays: Missing documents can stall the process while you and your attorney scramble to locate them.  Having everything readily available keeps the case moving forward efficiently.
  • Lower Costs:  The longer a divorce takes, the more it costs. Being prepared with essential documents upfront can help your attorney work efficiently, potentially reducing legal fees associated with document gathering later in the process.

In essence, having essential documents ready for your Colorado divorce is an investment in a smoother, less stressful, and potentially  more cost-effective process. It allows you and your attorney to focus on what truly matters – reaching a fair and satisfactory resolution for your future.

Finalize the Divorce

In Colorado, finalizing the divorce process involves obtaining a decree of dissolution of marriage from the court. Once all issues, such as property division, child custody, and support, are resolved through negotiation, mediation, or court proceedings, the court issues the decree. This document officially terminates the legal relationship between the spouses. Finalizing the divorce allows individuals to move forward with their lives separately, providing closure and legal clarity after the dissolution of the marriage.

Importance of Legal Representation in Divorce

While an uncontested divorce may seem straightforward, an attorney can ensure all the paperwork is filed correctly and protect your rights. In a contested divorce, having an experienced family law attorney by your side is crucial. Your attorney will advocate for you during negotiations, mediation, and potentially trial, ensuring a fair and just outcome. Johnson Law Group's family law attorneys understand divorce's emotional and legal complexities. Our team will guide you through the process, explain your options,  and fight for your best interests every step of the way.

Contact Johnson Law Group Today

If you're considering divorce in Colorado, don't hesitate to contact Johnson Law Group for a consultation. We offer compassionate and expert legal representation to help you navigate this challenging time. You can call us at 720-445-4444 or schedule and FREE initial consultation here!


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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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