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A distressed couple going through a divorce.

Divorce
 

White Grass

Dissolution of Marriage 

Anyone can get divorced in Colorado so long as one spouse believes that the marriage cannot be fixed (it doesn't matter if the other spouse believes the marriage can be fixed). It takes 91 days in Colorado to obtain a divorce decree, but it typically takes much longer. A 91-day divorce is only possible when the parties agree on all issues including: (1) division of assets and debts; (2) spousal maintenance (if married 3+ years); (3) parenting plan (if you have kids); (4) allocation of parental responsibilities (if you have kids); and (5) child support (if you have kids).

If you agree on all issues, then you can draft and file a: (1) Separation Agreement; (2) Maintenance Worksheet (if married 3+ years); (3) Parenting Plan (if you have kids); (4) Support Order; and (5) Proposed Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. The court must find that your agreements are fair and reasonable in light of circumstances.


Summary of process: filing for divorce in Colorado:

  1. Draft and file the following forms: 

  2. Hire a process server to serve your spouse with the above divorce forms. 

    1. NOTE: you cannot serve them yourself

    2. TIP: save money by filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage jointly with your spouse to avoid service fees and additional filing fees. 

  3. If you are served with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you have twenty-one (21) days to file a Response to the Petition.

  4. File your Financial Disclosures forty-two (42) days after your spouse is served with the Petition. Financial Disclosures include: (1) Sworn Financial Statement; and (2) Certificate of Compliance

  5. Attend the Initial Status Conference (typically scheduled 42 days after the Petition is filed). 

  6. Schedule and attend a Temporary Orders Hearing (if needed).

  7. Hire experts, such as: (1) Child & Family Investigator (CFI); (2) Home Appraisal; (3) Business Appraisal; (4) Vocational Evaluator; (5) Parental Responsibilities Evaluator; etc. 

  8. Issue Discovery. 

  9. Attend divorce mediation. (Divorce mediation checklist)

  10. Schedule and attend the Permanent Orders Hearing. 

 
All sorts of unpleasant things can pop up between the filing of the Petition and the Permanent Orders Hearing, the above summary is simply to help you better understand the process for getting a divorce in Colorado. 
 

Filing a divorce in Colorado without an attorney 


Filing for divorce in Colorado without a lawyer is known as a pro se divorce. While it is possible to proceed without legal representation, it can be a complex and challenging process. Couples must navigate the legal requirements, paperwork, and court procedures independently. Thorough research and understanding of Colorado divorce laws are essential to ensure the correct completion of forms and adherence to deadlines. However, pro se divorce can be cost-effective for couples with simple, amicable situations and a willingness to work together through the process. For more complex cases or those involving significant assets or child custody matters, seeking the guidance of a qualified family law attorney is highly recommended to protect one's rights and achieve a fair and satisfactory outcome.​

What is a final Divorce Decree

 

The Final Divorce Decree is the final order issued by the court. It outlines the final distribution of all assets & debts, parenting time, decision-making authority, spousal support, and child support. In other words, the Final Decree of divorce is the legal pronouncement that officially and irrevocably dissolves the marital union, marking the end of all matrimonial ties between the former spouses. It also lists all the upcoming responsibilities for each party moving forward, such as refinancing the house or transferring title into your spouse's name, for example. 

​The choices you make throughout this process can have a long-term effect on your family, your assets, and your finances. Speak with our Denver divorce lawyer if you have specific questions about your own situation at Creager Legal at 303-928-0660.  Affordable divorce lawyers near me. Divorce lawyers Colorado springs free consultation.

Types of Divorce

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one in which the parties involved can reach a mutually agreeable resolution on all aspects of their divorce, without the need for a judge or other third party to make decisions for them. This includes matters such as child support, parental rights and visitation, alimony, division of property ,  and any other important issues that may be unique to your marriage.

No-Fault Divorce

Colorado is a no fault divorce state. This means that you do not have to prove that your spouse did anything wrong in order to get a divorce. You can simply say that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In other words, the Court doesn't care who cheated or what a jerk your spouse is. On the other hand, the Court does care if either spouse is spending abnormal amounts of money. A party can be held financially liable for dissipating marital assets. Classic example is taking an extravagant vacation with your paramour while contemplating divorce or during your divorce proceedings. 

Mediated Divorce

A mediated divorce is a type of divorce in which the two parties work with a mediator to come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce. This can be a less stressful and more efficient way to get divorced, as it allows the two parties to avoid going to court. Mediated divorces can also be less expensive than traditional divorces.

Litigated Divorce

A divorce is litigated or contested 

when the parties cannot agree on one or more issues and need a judge to decide. This type of divorce can be complex, time-consuming, expensive, and often requires the assistance of a divorce lawyer as it involves the filing of pleadings, motions, discovery, and other legal documents with the court.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a process where both spouses work together with their attorneys to reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce. This type of divorce allows couples to avoid going to court and can be less costly and stressful than litigated divorce proceedings. Collaborative divorce can also help couples communicate better and make decisions that are in the best interests of their family.

Divorce custody laws

In Colorado, divorce custody laws prioritize the best interests of the child when determining child custody arrangements. The state recognizes both physical and legal custody. Physical custody pertains to where the child primarily resides, while legal custody involves decision-making authority regarding the child's upbringing, such as education and healthcare. Colorado encourages parents to collaborate on parenting plans, outlining decision-making authority and visitation schedules, and submit said plan to the court for approval. If parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will make custody decisions based on factors such as the child's age, the parents' ability to cooperate, each parent's involvement in the child's life, and the child's relationship with each parent, among other things. Colorado also promotes shared parenting responsibilities when appropriate. Additionally, the state allows for modifications of custody orders if there is a significant change in circumstances so long as the change is in child's best interests.  Speak with our divorce attorney Denver to discuss your situation.

Can you cancel a divorce after filing

Yes, it is possible to cancel a divorce after filing. Generally, if both spouses agree to reconcile and wish to halt the divorce proceedings, they can typically file a request to dismiss or withdraw the divorce petition. Similarly, the filing spouse can withdraw the petition at any time before the respondent files their response to the petition. The court will also dismiss your case if fail to pursue it for an extended period of time. 

An emotional person going through a legal separation.

What is a legal separation in Colorado

In Colorado, legal separation is defined as "the process by which a married couple separates their lives and financial affairs." This can be done either through a mutual agreement between the spouses, or through a court order.

 

A legal separation is similar to a divorce, with the difference being you stay married at the end and it does not formally end your marriage. The law continues to consider both partners to be spouses, and they may not remarry until they have been divorced formally, but they are now financially independent of each other. It should be noted that after 6 months pass following the entry of a Decree of Legal Separation, either party may convert the Decree to a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage by filing a Motion to Convert with the court.

In certain situations, ending a marriage through divorce might not be the best option for you or your spouse. A legal separation may be a more viable alternative in your case. Some of the most common reasons that spouses choose to go through with a legal separation rather than divorce include:

  • to continue to have health insurance through their spouse's company

  • maintain military benefits

  • religious beliefs

  • to keep their tax status as a married couple

  • they are not ready to fully commit to a divorce and want to try living apart first.

As a result, legal separations can be just as contentious and sensitive as divorce proceedings and entails much of the same paperwork as a divorce. All relevant issues must be addressed and appropriately resolved before separation is finalized. This may include custody disputes, spousal support/maintenance, and marital property division.

Summary of process: Forms for legal separation in Colorado:

  1. Draft and file the following legal separation papers: 

  2. Hire a process server to serve your spouse with the above legal separation forms.

    1. NOTE: you cannot serve them yourself

    2. TIP: save money by filing the Petition for Legal Separation jointly with your spouse to avoid service fees and additional filing fees. 

  3. If you are served with a Legal Separation, you have twenty-one (21) days to file a Response to the Petition.

  4. File your Financial Disclosures forty-two (42) days after your spouse is served with the Petition. Financial Disclosures include the: (1) Sworn Financial Statement; and (2) Certificate of Compliance

  5. Attend the Initial Status Conference (typically scheduled 42 days after the Petition is filed). 

  6. Schedule and attend a Temporary Orders Hearing (if needed).

  7. Hire experts, such as: (1) Child & Family Investigator (CFI); (2) Home Appraisal; (3) Business Appraisal; (4) Vocational Evaluator; (5) Parental Responsibilities Evaluator; etc. 

  8. Issue Discovery. 

  9. Attend separation mediation process. (mediation tips)

  10. Schedule and attend the Permanent Orders Hearing. 

 

How to prove date of separation

Proving the date of separation typically involves providing evidence of physical separation, clear intent to end the marital relationship, and a cessation of shared finances and responsibilities. The easiest way to prove the separation date is for the parties to agree on a specific date, or more generally, agree on the month and year. The date of physical separation is important for determining retroactive spousal support and retroactive child support. If your spouse does not agree on a separation date, you may have to offer proof with documents such as a lease agreement, or offer witness testimony to confirm the alleged separation date. In my experience, having to prove the physical separation date is rarely an issue. 

How much does legal separation cost

The cost of a legal separation is every bit as expensive as a divorce and can vary significantly depending on factors such as the complexity of the case and the need for amicable agreements or extensive legal proceedings, attorney fees, and court filing expenses, making it challenging to provide an exact figure without specific details. It costs $230.00 just to file the Petition for Legal Separation in Colorado. Contact our family lawyer for separation questions. 

Our experienced team is dedicated to protecting your rights and achieving the best outcomes for you and your loved ones. Get a free case review and let us guide you through this challenging process. Speak with our legal separation attorney. cheap divorce lawyer near me

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Child custody can be a very sensitive and emotional issue, especially when there are children involved. It is important to understand the common mistakes that are made in child custody cases so that you can avoid them. One of the most common mistakes is not being prepared for the court process.

Untangling the Impact: Understanding How Divorce Affects Children

Divorce can have a significant impact on children. Some common effects include feeling isolated, feeling insecure and feeling confused.  Recognizing and addressing these effects is crucial for parents and caregivers in providing the necessary support and guidance to help children navigate the emotional challenges of divorce and promote their overall well-being.

  • What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?
    Legal custody refers to decision-making authority, while physical custody relates to where the child resides. In Colorado, "custody" is referred to as the "allocation of parental responsibilities" (APR). APR refers to (1) parenting time, and (2) decision-making responsibility.
  • How to change jurisdiction for child custody?
    To change jurisdiction for child custody, you typically need to file a petition in the current jurisdiction, providing valid reasons for the requested change, and seek approval from the court.
  • Can parenting time be modified or adjusted?
    Parenting time can be modified or adjusted if there is a significant change in circumstances or if it is determined that the modification is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider factors such as the child's needs and the parents' ability to co-parent effectively when making a decision.
  • Can you lose custody for not paying child support?
    Yes, you can potentially lose custody for not paying child support, as failure to fulfill financial responsibilities may be seen as neglecting the child's well-being and can be grounds for a change in custody arrangements.
  • Do I need a lawyer for child custody?
    While it is not mandatory to have a lawyer for child custody cases, consulting with a family law attorney is highly recommended to understand your rights, navigate the legal process effectively, and ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
  • Why do I pay child support with 50/50 custody?
    Even with 50/50 custody, you may still be required to pay child support if there is a significant disparity in the incomes of the parents or other factors considered by the court to ensure the child's financial well-being.
  • How does relocation or moving to another state impact existing custody arrangements?
    Relocation can significantly impact custody arrangements, often requiring court approval or modification of the existing order.
  • Should co-parents spend time together?
    Co-parents should spend time together if they can maintain a respectful and cooperative relationship for the benefit of their children's well-being, but it's essential to prioritize the children's needs and avoid it if unresolved conflicts or emotional distress are involved.
  • Who pays attorney fees in child custody cases?
    In child custody cases, the party responsible for paying attorney fees is typically determined by the court and may vary depending on the specific circumstances and laws of the jurisdiction.
  • Can you lose custody for child endangerment?
    Yes, child endangerment can be a significant factor in child custody cases, and engaging in behavior that puts the child's safety at risk may lead to the loss of custody rights.
  • Can you get custody of a child that's not yours?
    Obtaining custody of a child who is not biologically yours may be possible through legal means, such as adoption or obtaining guardianship, depending on the specific circumstances and the laws in your jurisdiction.
  • How to fight false allegations in child custody?
    To fight false allegations in child custody, gather evidence, maintain clear and open communication with legal representation, and work with your attorney to present a strong defense in court.
  • Can I fight for custody from another state?
    Yes, you can fight for custody from another state, but it can be legally complex, and it's essential to understand the relevant laws and seek legal counsel.
  • How long does a custody hearing take?
    The duration of a custody hearing can vary widely depending on the complexity of the case, the number of witnesses and evidence presented, and the court's schedule, but it typically lasts anywhere from a few hours to several days.
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