Colorado Divorce Laws

Colorado Divorce

Different titles of divorce are designated in Colorado that is different from those of other states. The individual who files for divorce is called the petitioner, while the individual who is later served with a divorce is called the respondent.

The divorce will take place through a county district court where one of the individuals resides. Colorado has specific residency requirements for filing for divorce. One of the spouses must be a Colorado state resident for a minimum of ninety days before a divorce case can be filed. If both individuals are Colorado residents, the case can either be filed in the county of the wife or in the county of the husband. If the petitioner is not a state resident then the case will be filed to the court where the respondent has residency.

Residency laws for divorce in Colorado

In order to be able to apply for a divorce in Colorado one of the parties must have resided in the state of Colorado for a period of at least 90 days before applying to the courts for petition of dissolution of marriage. The petition must be made in the county in which the spouse partitioning resides.

Grounds for Divorce Filing in Colorado

The United States mandates that a divorce must be grounded on specific circumstances, meaning that a divorce will need to have a reason for happening. Divorce grounds are to be filed through the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The grounds for divorce must be under Colorado-specific laws. Both individuals may come to a conclusion on which grounds a divorce will be sought or the petitioner will prepare for which grounds he or she will present to the court to prove valid. Colorado law states that grounds for divorce are to be based on un-emendable reasons.

In order to be able to apply for dissolution of marriage, there has to be certain grounds for requiring the divorce. In Colorado, the only ground for divorce is the marriage being irretrievably broken. This means that the marriage is unable to continue due to conflict or marital discord. Colorado Statutes – Article 10 – Sections: 14-10-106.

These grounds must be proved with evidence or testimony otherwise it is possible that the courts will dismiss the case.

Court Paperwork

Those involved in divorce proceedings are required to file a petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. These documents can be up to twenty pages long and can include a UCCHEA Information sheet, a Domestic Relations Case Information Sheet, a Notice to Set Non-contest Hearing, a Summons for Dissolution of Marriage, and a Marital Settlement Agreement. The District Clerk’s office will manage all the necessary paperwork while the process is being handled through lawyers.

Property division when divorcing

Colorado is considered to be an equitable distribution state where all the property acquired during the marriage will be divided equitably. If the individuals involved in the divorce case cannot reach a property settlement in a fair manner then the court will divide the property accordingly.

When dividing the property the court will consider four factors. One of these is how much contribution each individual made to the property at hand, no excluding that of a homemaker. Another factor is the consideration of the property’s value for each individual. One factor is that of each individual’s personal economic circumstances when the property is being divided. This may include presenting the home to the individual responsible for any children resulted in the marriage. The final factor to be considered by the court is that of the increase or decrease of any property for marital reasons.

When applying for a divorce in Colorado the courts prefer that the spouses settle any property and debt disputes themselves. However, if this is not possible then it will be down to the courts under the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage to split any property. They will do this after considering the following:

  1. The courts will have to decide which property and debts are classed as marital
  2. Any property that is classed as marital will then have a monetary value assigned to it
  3. The value of the marital property will be divided by the courts in an equitable fashion

Equitable is what the court declares to be fair and does not necessarily mean it will be split 50/50.

When deciding what is “equitable” the court will consider the following:

  1. What contribution each of the spouses has made to the marital property
  2. The value of the property that is awarded to each of the spouses
  3. The economic circumstances of each spouse, taking into account any children and their right to live in the family home for what is deemed a reasonable amount of time
  4. Any decrease or increase in the monetary value of the property that is not declared marital property. Colorado Revised Statutes; Article 10, Section 14-10-113

Child custody factors

As with any state in the USA, the courts will work in the best interests of the child when it comes to determining child custody. They will consider all relevant factors when making a decision and these are outlined here:

  • Wishes of the parents of the children
  • The wishes of the child themselves if they are seen to be of reasonable age to contribute towards the decision
  • The relationship between the child and each of the parents
  • The relationship between any other person living in the home of the spouse
  • The adjustment factor for the child includes school and community
  • The mental and physical health of the child
  • The ability of each of the parents to be able to encourage a relationship with the other parent
  • How close in proximity are the parents reside
  • Whether either of the parents has been convicted of abuse
  • The ability of each parent to place the needs of the child before their own needs. Colorado Statutes – Article 10 – Sections: 14-20-123, 14-20-124, 14-20-129

Child support factors

The court is able to ask that either of the parents pay reasonable child support regardless of whose fault the marriage break up is. The following factors will be taken into account:

  • Any financial resources that the child has
  • The resources of the parents
  • If the marriage had not broken down the standard of living that the child would have had is taken into consideration
  • The emotional, physical, and educational needs of the child
  • The needs, obligations, and financial resources of the parents
  • Medical insurance and medical care costs may also be ordered by the courts

Possible Spousal Support

Spousal support is not automatically assigned by the court in every case. Whether or not spousal support is granted depends on the financial stability of the individuals involved, either permanent or temporary. Awarding spousal support is at the discretion of the court.