Filing for Divorce in Denver, CO?
Experts in Advocacy with 20 Years of Experience
No one should face one of the most difficult and personal legal matters in life without the right advocate on their side. If you are moving toward a divorce, act in your best interests by speaking with a Denver divorce lawyer from our firm right away. Denver Family Lawyers is a seasoned team of professionals dedicated to providing the best possible service and results for each client—including you.
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What Does a Colorado Divorce Involve?
No two divorce cases are the same, but there are a number of family law matters that most divorce cases have in common. If you are looking to dissolve your marriage, then you will need to consider:
At Denver Family Lawyers, we recognize how overwhelming the thought of divorce can be. Our team is here to answer your questions and guide you through your options.
Attorney Bill Thode has two decades of experience in Colorado family law. As a seasoned trial attorney and mediator in Denver, he is capable of getting results both in and out of the courtroom and can help you with any divorce matter, whether contested or uncontested. Find out what we can do for you by calling or visiting our office today!
What Does the Divorce Process Entail?
The divorce process starts when a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed with the court, either by one spouse or jointly. There is no preference given to the individual that files, or any benefit for filing jointly. The process remains the same regardless, allowing couples to pursue whichever approach is best for them without fear of it affecting their settlement.
After the initial petition is filed, if it is not a Joint Petition for Dissolution, the filer must serve the other spouse with the divorce documents and a summons. Alternatively, the respondent may sign a waiver of service to declare that they received the papers.
The respondent partner is given 21 days, or 35 if they live outside of Colorado, to file a response to the petition with the court, if they choose.
An Initial Status Conference happens within around 40 days of filing the petition for dissolution. This meeting with the judge is the first court appearance and provides each spouse an opportunity to ask questions or bring up unique issues within their case.
After this preliminary meeting, the court will require each party to fully disclose their financial status, any debts and assets, and other relevant information necessary for the case.
Couples who are able to do so amicably may settle their own case outside of court during mediation. If the two come to an agreement here, the mediator will complete a Memorandum of Understanding. Our attorneys can also create a Separation Agreement detailing the terms each party agreed to. Either document may be presented to the court, and the judge can accept it and back it with an Order of the Court.
Mediation, while a required step in Colorado divorces, does not work for every couple. Those who cannot reach an agreement proceed to Permanent Orders Hearings. During these hearings, the judge considers the evidence, testimonies, and arguments of each party. They will make a decision based on the information presented and each party’s financial disclosures to finalize any unsettled points of contention, such as alimony, child support and custody, property division, and more. The judge or magistrate will also issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
Temporary orders can be made in an additional court visit before the permanent orders hearing to maintain the status quo of a couple’s life by settling immediate needs such as parenting decisions.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Colorado?
Divorce costs vary to reflect the complexity of each individual case and the legal involvement required. Uncontested divorces without children do not require legal involvement to decide custody, child support, and other issues exclusive to divorce involving children, and typically cost around $3,500 to $4,200.
More complicated, contested cases can reach up to $20,000 if the couple requires a significant level of court involvement. Typically, however, Colorado divorces have an average cost around $9,700 to $11,800.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Colorado?
As with most states, the length of the divorce process is significantly affected by the specifics of the case and whether it is contested or uncontested. The quickest it can be done is 91 days. Decrees of Dissolution of Marriage have a 91-day waiting period that begins once the respondent is served with the petition. Some cases may take significantly longer if they are contested and the couples fail to agree on key decisions within their divorce. Other couples may be agreeable and speed through the filing process, in which case they will simply need to see the waiting period through before being issued their divorce decree.
Divorce Mediation in Denver
Mediation is a way for a couple to resolve their divorce without having to go to court. Mediation is not only incredibly effective, but many people find meditation to be one of the best ways to settle a divorce. During mediation, the parties meet with a neutral mediator whose job it is to help them reach decisions and agreements over such issues as parenting time, child custody, property division, and spousal support. It’s expected that the parties will disagree about certain issues. The mediator’s objective is to help the parties talk through their disagreements so they are able to effectively reach an agreement or settlement.
Anyone can benefit from resolving their divorce through mediation. That being said, mediation may not be for you if you and your spouse simply cannot get along or work together. In that case, you may be better off letting your attorneys argue your case in court. Mediation is a great alternative to litigation for those people who are willing to put aside their differences and come together to try and resolve their divorce. And those people who do use mediation to settle their divorce will find they will save time and money in the long run.
Divorce vs. Legal Separation vs. Annulment
If you and your spouse no longer wish to be married, you should speak with a lawyer at Denver Family Lawyers about whether you should file for a divorce, legal separation, or annulment.
Divorce: Divorce is the process of dissolving a marriage. Once a divorce has been finalized, the parties will no longer be legally married, and any of the rights, protections, and benefits they shared as a married couple will no longer be valid.
Legal Separation: When a married couple is unsure of whether or not they want to continue with their marriage, the can legally separate and spend some time apart. This is a less dramatic step than filing for divorce, as the parties can easily resume their marriage if they decide they still want to be together.
Annulment: An annulment is essentially declaring that the marriage is invalid. It’s much harder to annul a marriage than to get a divorce. Anyone can get a divorce, but in order to get an annulment the parties must meet a least one of the following grounds:
- One of the parties was mentally incapacitated at the time of the marriage
- One spouse could not consummate the marriage due to a physical incapacity that the other spouse was unaware of
- One spouse was under the legal age of consent at the time of the marriage
- One spouse was married under duress
- One spouse was married to another person at the same time the new marriage began
- The marriage was incestuous
- The marriage was a dare or a hoax
- The marriage was based on fraud
How Are Assets Divided in Divorce in Colorado?
Colorado is classified as a "marital property" state, meaning only property that is gathered during a marriage is divided in a divorce proceeding. This includes any debt acquired. Examples of marital property include:
- real estate
- investments such as stock and/or bonds
- personal property including pets
During a court proceeding, if both parties cannot come to a mutual agreement on which property should be divided, then the judge will award assets based on equitable division. This doesn't necessarily mean a 50/50 split, rather, it's based off of what is deemed most fair. Factors that influence equitable division include the length of the marriage and the income of each spouse.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer – (303) 225-3343
Lead by our founding divorce attorney in Denver, William “Bill” Thode, our firm the perfect combination of aggressive advocacy and compassionate counsel. We will support you through the course of your divorce, but will also relentlessly fight for your rights every step of the way.
Start today with a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the laws regarding divorce in Colorado. We will ensure you know exactly what your divorce might involve and how our team can help you take steps in the right direction.
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