Filing For Divorce in Colorado
Getting a Divorce in Colorado? Divorce Law Cheat Sheet for the State of Colorado
1. What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Colorado?
You or your spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 90 days before filing for divorce.
2. Does Colorado have a waiting period?
Yes, the court will not grant a divorce until at least 90 days after you file.
3. Does the state have grounds for divorce?
In Colorado, there is no list of actions or issues that could be grounds for divorce. Rather, the court must find that your marriage is irretrievably broken — meaning there’s no hope of reconciliation.
If you and your spouse both tell the court by petition or under oath that you agree that your marriage is irretrievably broken, or one of you states this and the other doesn’t deny it, the court will find that your marriage is irretrievably broken — as long as there isn’t any evidence to contradict that.
If one of you denies under oath that your marriage is irretrievably broken, the court will look at your case and either decide that it is, or schedule a hearing on the matter between 30 and 60 days later. You may be required to attend counseling during this time.
4. How does Colorado determine the division of property?
You and your spouse are encouraged to come up with a settlement on your own and present it to the court. If you can’t agree, the court will divide your property for you based on what is equitable, or fair.
The court looks at your marital property, which is anything you or your spouse acquired after you were married except:
- Property you acquired by gift or inheritance
- Property you received in exchange for property that you acquired before you were married or that you acquired by gift or inheritance
- Property you acquired after legally separating
- Property you and your spouse agree to leave out of the discussion
Anything else is marital property, even if you hold the title individually. And if your separate property — property that you acquired before you were married — increased in value from the date of your marriage, that increase in value also is marital property.
When considering how to divide things between you and your spouse, the court will take into account the following:
- You and your spouse’s contributions toward acquiring your marital property, including whether one of you contributed as a homemaker.
- The value of your individual property.
- You and your spouse’s economic circumstances, including whether your home or the right to live in your home should be awarded to the parent with whom your child.
- Will live most of the time.
- Any increase or decrease in the value of your separate property while you were married, or whether you used your separate property for your marriage.
5. Does Colorado require mediation before a divorce is granted?
If reconciliation seems possible, or if you and your spouse do not agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, then the court may order a counseling period between 30 to 60 days after you file.If you have children younger than 18, the court may order you to attend a program on the effects of separation and divorce on children.
Mediation also may be ordered to resolve any parenting issues such as custody, visitation and support.
6. How does the state determine child custody?
Legal custody and physical custody are two different things. Legal custody outlines how involved each parent is in the major decisions of a child’s life — where a child goes to school, what faith he or she is raised in and other biggies.
Physical custody addresses where a child will live and with whom. Visitation is then negotiated based your physical custody arrangement.
You and your spouse are encouraged to develop a parenting plan that specifies parenting time and how decision-making responsibilities will be divided. If you don’t submit a plan or if the court doesn’t approve the plan you submit, the court will develop a parenting plan based on the best interest of your child.
Generally, the court seeks an arrangement that will encourage frequent and continuing contact between each of you and your child.
In determining parenting time (visitation), the court will take into consideration:
- You and your spouse’s wishes
- Your child’s wishes, if the court thinks he or she is mature enough to offer a preference
- Your child’s relationship with each of you, his or her siblings and any others who may be involved
- Your child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community
- The mental and physical health of everyone involved (though a disability alone will not be a basis to deny or restrict parenting time)
- You and your spouse’s abilities to encourage affection and contact between your child and the other parent
- Whether you and your spouse’s past involvement with your child reflects a value system, time commitment and mutual support
- How close you and your spouse live to each other
- Whether you or your spouse has ever been guilty of child abuse or neglect
- Whether you or your spouse has ever been guilty of spousal abuse
- You and your spouse’s abilities to put your child’s needs first
In determining decision-making responsibility (legal custody), the court will take into consideration all of the factors for physical custody, as well as:
- Evidence of you and your spouse’s abilities to cooperate and make joint decisions
- Whether you and your spouse’s past involvement with your child indicates an ability as mutual decision-makers to provide a positive relationship with your child
- Whether mutual decision-making responsibility on any issues will mean more frequent or continuing contact between your child and each of you
If the court finds that one of you has been a perpetrator of child abuse or neglect, then it will not find mutual decision-making to be in the best interest of your child, despite objections by you or by your child’s legal representative.
It’s the same if one of you has been a perpetrator of spousal abuse, unless the court finds that you are able to make shared decisions about your child without physical confrontation and in a safe place and manner.
7. How does the state calculate child support?
Colorado determines child support according to state guidelines and a schedule of basic child support obligations. This amount is based upon you and your spouse’s combined adjusted gross incomes. In this case, your adjusted gross income means your gross income minus pre-existing child support obligations and alimony.
The basic child support obligation is divided between you and your spouse in proportion to your adjusted gross incomes. Work-related child care costs and health insurance premiums for your child are added to this basic amount and divided proportionately.
The court also will look at these factors to arrive at a final amount:
- Your child’s financial resources
- The financial resources of the custodial parent
- Your child’s standard of living if you had remained married
- Your child’s physical and emotional condition and his or her educational needs
- The financial resources and needs of the non-custodial parent
8. How does the state determine and calculate alimony?
Alimony, also known as maintenance, is not a given in every divorce case. If you request maintenance, the court will take into consideration:
- Your financial resources, including any marital property you were awarded, your ability to meet your needs independently and, if your child is living with you, whether
- any support for him or her includes a sum for you
- How long it would take you to get the education or training necessary to find a job as well as your future earning capacity
- Your standard of living while you were married
- How long you were married
- Your age and your physical and emotional condition
- Your spouse’s ability to meet his or her own needs while providing for yours
9. Is there a waiting period before remarriage in Colorado?
No, there is no waiting period. You are free to marry again once your divorce is final.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Colorado’s state statutes are online here.
You can download forms from the state of Colorado here.
Please note: Local and state laws change constantly, therefore this information is for educational purposes only. We do our best to keep state-specific information up-to-date, but please contact us to discuss your unique situation.