Dissolving your marriage in Colorado requires a specific set of steps and procedures. You must have a firm understanding of the state’s divorce laws and how to navigate them to successfully end your marriage. A divorce lawyer in Fort Collins can help you with all of the laws connected to your divorce case and protect your rights along the way. In the meantime, here is a brief summary of some of the most important divorce laws to know.
Colorado does not require an individual to prove that his or her spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage to get divorced. In the past, fault divorce laws were common. They required the filing party to prove accepted grounds for the divorce, such as adultery, fraud or insanity. Today, however, couples in Colorado do not have to prove fault to get divorced.
When filing for a divorce, you can cite “irreconcilable differences” or that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” as the cause for the dissolution. You do not have to prove that this is so; the courts will accept this reason without requiring evidence, even if your spouse doesn’t agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. You can dissolve your marriage even if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers.
Before you can file for divorce in Colorado, you must prove that you or your spouse has been a resident of Colorado for at least the past 91 days. Only then will the State of Colorado have jurisdiction over your case. If you and your spouse share children, the children must have resided in Colorado for at least 181 days prior to filing. However, there are special exceptions for active military members who are stationed in Colorado.
In addition to the 91-day residency requirement, Colorado has a mandatory waiting period of the same duration. After you file for divorce, you and your spouse must wait at least 91 days before the courts will finalize the paperwork and make your dissolution of marriage official. This waiting period allows a couple to have time to work through marital issues, such as planning property division or creating a parenting plan. This can make the divorce process easier and decrease the odds of a divorce trial. It could also give a couple time to reconcile before rushing into a divorce.
Equitable Property Distribution
All couples in Colorado have a chance to divide their marital property and debts before a case is handed to the courts. If the couple cannot agree on how to divide their property, the courts will use an equitable property distribution rule. This arrangement divides all of the assets and debts acquired during a marriage in a way that is equitable, or fair. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The courts will not divide separate property, or property owned by each party before the divorce.
Child Custody and Support Laws
Child custody is determined based on what is in the best interest of the child. Neither the father nor the mother receives preferential treatment when it comes to child custody arrangements. If the couple cannot work out a parenting plan on their own, the courts will arrange custody according to what will best protect the child’s physical, mental and psychological well-being.
Child support is awarded based on the finances of the couple, such as which spouse earns more, combined with the custody arrangement. Typically, the noncustodial parent will be made to pay the parent with primary custody an amount in child support to pay his or her share of the child’s care.