Divorce (legally known as a Dissolution of Marriage) takes at least 90 (ninety) days to complete. Both parties must have resided in Colorado 90 (ninety) days prior to filing the petition. There are a number of proceedings to occur and documents to be filed in order for the dissolution to be granted by the Court.
Here are the steps: Petition is filed. Respondent is personally served. They have 20 (twenty) days to file an answer, if residing in Colorado. Then, an Initial Status Conference is set. Some Judicial Districts require mediation, as well. After the Petition is filed, both parties must exchange financial information and fill out their Sworn Financial Statements, which they must verify in front of a Notary. Per CRCP 16.2, both parties must exchange financial documents, such as tax returns and bank records.
Substantively, at the Initial Status Conference, the Court will learn of the parties’ wishes, as to the dissolution. As to mediation, if the Court so orders, the mediator will give advice as to the dissolution. This advice is not binding and all communication is confidential. However, if the parties agree to resolve the matter without going to Court, they can sign a Stipulation, as to all issues, and agree to have the Court bless their Stipulation as binding to the parties as an Order of the Court.
If it is a Contested Divorce, at any time during the proceedings, one party may move for Temporary Orders. This is set so as to alleviate any problems that the parties may have until the dissolution is final, i.e., spousal maintenance, child support. Permanent Orders are set months out to dissolve the marriage, once and for all. It should be noted that certain Judicial Districts, i.e., the 18th (Arapahoe County), are incredibly backlogged and are setting P.O.’s out almost months and months after the 90 (ninety) days have expired; in fact, currently, a contested hearing in Arapahoe could take place 1 (one) year after the filing!
Free legal tip: Whether it is called “divorce” or legally, “dissolution of marriage,” Colorado is a no-fault state. What does that mean? Either party may file for any reason. It doesn’t need to be adultery; rather, it can be the wrong color of the other party’s socks! The point is that the Court will not get into the “why’s” of a divorce; EXCEPT, “marital waste,” such as gambling. Ultimately, the Court wants to establish two things: 1) What’s in the best interests of the children, and 2) How to fairly and equitably divide the marital property, i.e., 401k, wedding rings, IBM stock, equity in 123 Ranch Street home, time-share in Maui, garage full of tools, gun collection, furs, etc.
Please call Law Office of John Waters at (303) 629-6900 to schedule your free initial consultation. Thank you.