Filing for divorce in Colorado? Read on for more information on the divorce process in Colorado, including the relevant forms, obtaining legal representation, filing and serving divorce papers, and key issues in Colorado divorces. The following resources will help in your dissolution of marriage in Colorado.
Colorado Divorce Forms
The Colorado divorce process requires that parties file paperwork specific to the type of divorce sought. Couples seeking a divorce in Colorado can find the relevant forms at the website of the Colorado Judicial Branch. Divorce forms should be filed in the county where the couple resides. There is a 91 day residency requirement for couples seeking a divorce in Colorado, and at least one spouse must intend to make Colorado their permanent home. Forms may require additional paperwork or fees. You may want to consult with a lawyer to gain a better understanding of the divorce process in Colorado depending on your specific situation.
Examples of required divorce forms include:
- Annulment: An annulment cancels a marriage, and legally an annulment declares that the marriage was never valid and never existed. To file for an annulment, the parties must have either lived in Colorado for 30 days before filing for divorce, or the parties must have gotten married in Colorado.
- Convert Legal Separation to Divorce: To convert a legal separation to divorce, parties must wait 182 days from the date on which the legal separation was granted.
- Divorce or Legal Separation without Children: Divorce or legal separation without children of the marriage can be filed on one’s own or jointly and requires that both parties have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days.
- Divorce or Legal Separation with Children: Divorces involving children may require a plan for the separation’s parenting arrangements, which can include payment of child support or maintenance. Both parties in the marriage must have resided in Colorado for at least 91 days.
- Maintenance and Alimony: Alimony, which is referred to as “spousal maintenance” in Colorado, refers to payments for the support and maintenance of a spouse, either in a lump sum payment or on a continued basis. In general, a spouse who is the main breadwinner typically pays alimony or maintenance, if it is determined to be required during the divorce proceedings.
- Registering an Out of State Divorce Decree: Divorces can often be transferred to Colorado if the state has jurisdiction over the marriage and the parties involved.
- Transferring a Title: After a divorce, you may need to transfer titles (e.g. for your car or house) to your former spouse or to change the title ownership to reflect a name change.
Representation in Divorce
Couples can file for divorce themselves, or enlist the aid of a divorce lawyer to help with filing the relevant divorce papers and representing a party in divorce court. A divorce lawyer can help save time and money, making the divorce less messy and complicated, and taking emotions out of the equation by providing a source of objective legal advice.
A divorce lawyer is a particularly good choice for dissolution of marriage that is contested, involves children or assets, or if the other party has hired a divorce lawyer. A lawyer will also be required if parties cannot agree on the terms of the divorce. Any party in the divorce unfamiliar with divorce and family law, or who abhor paperwork, may find it necessary to obtain legal guidance.
There are some good reasons to forego hiring a divorce lawyer in a limited set of circumstances. For example, if the divorce is following a very short marriage and there are no children or assets in the mix, a divorce lawyer may not be necessary. Hiring a divorce lawyer can also be cost-prohibitively expensive. However, legal representation in divorce can make the process go a lot more smoothly and serve as a source of objective advice during an emotionally turbulent time.
Filing & Serving Divorce Papers
Divorce papers can be filed and served easily with the help of a divorce lawyer. Without a divorce lawyer, one can file for divorce pro se – that is, on your own behalf. If both parties agree on the conditions of the divorce, filing pro se can be simple. However, this is not always the case.
Key Divorce Issues