In Colorado, many people marry each other every year. Those occasions can light up someone’s life. They will likely remember that magical moment for as long as they live.
Some divorce each other as well. Not every marriage works. Some work for quite some time, but then a moment comes when it’s obvious each person wants something different. They must uncouple, and each pursue their own dreams.
You must go through several steps before you reach a point where you’ve finalized a divorce in Colorado. We’ll talk about each one now.
The Divorce Planning Phase
Understanding the divorce process in Colorado becomes crucial if you feel like you’re going to move forward. That probably means you’ve exhausted all other possibilities. You and your spouse have come to an impasse. Maybe you’ve tried marriage counseling, and perhaps you tried a trial separation.
Now, you will go through the divorce planning phase. You will hire a divorce lawyer at this point, and your spouse should do the same. Note that you can’t use the same divorce lawyer. You need different ones, or else it’s a conflict of interest.
You and your lawyer will discuss some practical details before moving forward. You will likely talk about whether you want the house, the car, and custody of the kids. Maybe your spouse doesn’t okay those plans yet. You’re just figuring out what the best path forward looks like for you.
The Divorce Filing Process
Next, you will file for divorce. The attorney can help you with that. They will explain how you do it and the steps you must follow.
You and your spouse can file jointly in Colorado, but you can also file by yourself. If you file jointly, that simplifies matters somewhat, but even if you file on your own, you can still start the process.
If you’re filing in Colorado, your or your spouse have to live in the state for at least 91 days. If you’ve lived there for several years or your whole life, that’s not an issue. You will usually file in the county where you live at the time.
Additional Documents and a Parenting Class
You will next get some additional documents ready. Again, your lawyer can help you with this.
You will fill out a Sworn Financial Statement revealing all your assets. You will make a financial disclosure to your spouse. You can’t hide any assets, or that might come back to bite you later.
You must also attend a parenting class with your spouse if you have kids. The teacher in this class will talk about helping your child or children through the divorce process, which will probably upset them.
You will receive a certificate indicating you’ve attended and passed the class. You’ll retain that certificate since you might need it later in a custody hearing.
The Initial Status Conference
The initial status conference happens next. At this stage, you and your spouse will appear in family court. A judge will assess the situation between the two of you, or sometimes a family court facilitator might do it.
The judge or facilitator will give you a date when you and your spouse must disclose your financial status. They will also tell you a date by which you must complete your parenting class. If you’ve already done both things before now, that will speed up this process.
You can request a Temporary Orders Hearing at this point if you want one. During that hearing, you will talk about things like temporary spousal maintenance and child support.
Mediation and a Final Orders Hearing
Finally, you will have mediation. That only happens if you or your spouse contests the divorce, though.
Basically, you try and find some way you can stay together if one or the other partner wants it. If you both feel you should move forward with the divorce and neither of you objects, you won’t take this step.
Next up, you’ll have the Final Orders Hearing. At this point, the family court judge will issue child support rulings, spousal maintenance rulings, and so forth.
Once they do that, they will most likely issue a Decree of Dissolution. That means you are legally no longer married, and you can walk away with a paper that shows that.
This process isn’t easy, but you can get through it with a good lawyer’s help. Make sure you find one that knows all the laws regarding divorce in Colorado.