Deciding to divorce is not easy, but once you are resolved it is important to act quickly to safeguard your interests and protect the well-being of your children. And if your spouse has retained an attorney, you would be well advised to do so as well. We will help protect your rights as well as the rights of your family. If you have immediate needs – housing, money or your spouse is threatening to remove any children outside the state – we can work quickly with the Court to obtain immediate orders for support, parenting time and responsibilities, use of the marital home, payment of debts and in some cases restraining orders.
Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that either spouse can obtain a divorce without proving that the other spouse did something wrong. Therefore, the issues left to resove in almost all divorces are equitable separation of the marital property, allocation of debts and the awarding of maintenance, parental responsibilities (parenting time and decision making) and child support.
Typically, you can expect the process for divorce (referred to in Colorado courts as Dissolution of Marriage) to unfold thusly:
- Filing of Summons and Petition in District Court: These documents drafted in our office and/or opposing counsel’s office to formally begin proceedings.
- Initial Status Conference: Both parties meet with their lawyers and a judge to review parenting issues and mandatory disclosure of all marital assets and debts. If disputes in other areas have arisen – for instance, over the Parenting Schedule – experts may be appointed at this time to evaluate the situation and provide an opinion on a resolution in the best interest of the children.
- Settlement Discussions: These are the meetings either held with attorneys of both parties or a mediator to resolve all issues. Once agreement is reached, all terms (regarding maintenance, property division, debt apportionment and child support) are stipulated to in a document called a Separation Agreement, which is filed with the Court. Once the Court makes it into an Order, if either spouse thereafter fails to abide by the terms of the Order, they can be held in contempt of court. Once all parenting issues have been resolved, a Parenting Schedule is also filed with the Court.
- Decree of Dissolution of Marriage: Once all documents (listed above) have been filed, a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage is generaly issued by the Court after 90 days.
We are highly familiar with the Colorado divorce and legal separation process – specifically within the Boulder District Courts – and will work diligently to identify and counsel you on potential challenges while effectively pursuing your goals.