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How to File For Divorce in Colorado
In Colorado, divorce is a legal declaration that ends a marriage. The Colorado judicial system considers some issues before finalizing a divorce, including child custody and welfare, alimony, savings and debts, properties, and retirement payments. Divorce in Colorado may take up to six to nine months, depending on whether it is contested and issues surrounding the case. To file a divorce in Colorado, one of the spouses must have been living in the state for a minimum of 91 days. If there are children involved, Colorado must have been the residence for at least 181 days.
Spouses may file a joint petition or individually after adhering to the statutory waiting period. The cost of filing a divorce is $230. One spouse often files the petition and serves it on the other, then waits for 21 days to receive a written response. After this, each party will wait for 42 days. Once the divorce petition is served, both spouses will exchange financial information, real estate properties, and assets during the 42-day waiting period. After disclosures and the status conference have taken place, there will be a temporary hearing to offer financial security or to establish a custody and visitation routine while the divorce is pending. According to the United States Census Bureau, the Colorado divorce rate in 2018 was 8.7% per 1,000 couples.
Do I need a Reason for Divorce in Colorado
According to C. R. S. 14–10–106(1)(a)(II), the acceptable ground for divorce is when the marriage is irreversibly broken. What this means is, Colorado is a no-fault state. Issues like mental incapacity, no consummation, age, jest, claim of illness, marrying for visa, marrying for financial gain, intemperance, neglect, and social abandonment are insufficient grounds for divorce.
The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.
Why do I need a Divorce Lawyer?
There are several functions a divorce lawyer can perform during the process of filing for a divorce. A divorce lawyer can clarify how properties are treated upon the dissolution of the marriage, assist clients with building a parenting plan that works and expresses the child’s needs. In addition, a divorce attorney can help with preparing the paperwork or responding to the petitioner. Ultimately, hiring a divorce lawyer can result in a seamless divorce process.
How do I Get Started in a Divorce in Colorado?
To obtain a divorce in Colorado, either one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least three months before the divorce procedures start. Child custody arrangements, conversion of legal separation into a divorce, and contested divorce are factors that can increase the length of a divorce process beyond 90 days, from the date that the summons and petition are filed in court.
To begin the filing process, obtain the applicable divorce and family matters forms. When there are no minors involved, use the divorce forms for self-represented parties without minor children. After completing the forms, both the respondent and petitioner will receive one copy of each divorce petition. The service of a process server is needed to hand over the divorce paper to the other spouse. A process server might be a staff of the sheriff’s department or a non-party above 18. The process server will complete an affidavit showing that the party has been served. For the case to proceed, the information sheet, summons, and petition need to be present in the divorce file.
The couples are to complete a Sworn Financial Statement, and the spouses with the lawyers are to be present at the Initial Status Conference after 42 days of filing. After the Initial Status Conference, both parties can request a “Temporary Orders” hearing.
Like other states, Colorado permits the spouse in a divorce to ask each other for certain information, often called discovery. If both parties can not arrive at a resolution, the case goes for a Permanent Orders hearing where the judge will then hear evidence from both parties and make a decision.
It costs $230 to file for divorce, and a Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit (Form JDF 205) can be requested when there is a lack of funds. The judge will review the affidavit and conclude whether to waive or dispose off the filing charges.
How to File for Divorce in Colorado Without a Lawyer?
Self-representing couples that want to file a divorce must fulfill the residency requirement and complete the necessary paperwork. At the court, the petitioner will file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and sign in the presence of the court clerk. After this, the clerk will hand over a Case Management Order containing the court schedule. The respondent will receive a petition through a professional server or any family member above 18 years old. The petitioner must attend the Initial Status Conference and all court hearings. At the end of the case, the judge will issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage to finalize the divorce/separation. It is essential for couples seeking a divorce to know the divorce laws in the state.
Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.
How Does Colorado Divorce Mediation Work?
Divorce mediation is a program usually recommended (according to the Colorado Dispute Resolution Act) based on the court’s discretion before the final hearing on divorce. With a neutral third party, divorce mediation helps the divorcing couples reach a fair and reasonable agreement. Following Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure:16(b)(7) and 16.1(f), mediation can be a voluntary mutual agreement between the divorcing spouses or court-mandated.
During the mediation process, each partner will discuss any grievances with the mediator, who will speak to each party separately. The mediator will remain neutral all through the process and help the couples reach a mutual agreement. In reference to 16.2 Financial Disclosures, each party is to present financial statements after receiving the Petition for Dissolution, within 42 days. Financial details affect the outcome of the case in terms of the settlement, property division, and child support. After reaching an agreement, the couple will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to be presented before the court.
How Long After Mediation is Divorce Final in Colorado?
Divorces in Colorado can take up to nine months to be finalized, depending on the case peculiarities, and especially whether any of the couples decide to contest the case or not. There is a compulsory 90-day waiting time after filing the divorce petition in Colorado, but couples who mediate with Colorado Mediators complete all documents and agreements within this period. If all documents are complete, the judge will issue a divorce decree on or after the 91st day or after the contested hearing.
Are Divorce Records Public in Colorado?
According to Colorado’s Open Records Act (CORA), divorce documents are open to public view. The Colorado Department of Health & Environment (CDHE), Colorado State Archives, and the office of the court clerk maintain divorce records. However, es certified copies are only obtainable by the concerned parties and attorneys. Sometimes, divorce records are sealed or partially redacted due to sensitive or confidential information in the files. Hence, may not be accessible by the public.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How do I Get Colorado Divorce Records?
Colorado divorce records are accessible to the public, but only certified copies can are obtainable by the divorced party and attorneys involved in the case. The Colorado Department of Health & Environment (CDHE) maintains divorce records just the same way the clerk of court does.
For offline requests;
Interested persons can query the county and the court where the divorce case was filed in person or by mail. The requesting party should provide general information regarding the case, such as the names of the couples, location of divorce, and divorce date. Divorce records attract some charges upon request.
For online searches;
Parties can use the court docket search tool by providing the county name where the case hearing took place, the case number, the name of parties involved, and the attorney bar number. The Colorado State Archives attends to online searches at a cost.