How to File for Divorce in Colorado
Colorado makes divorce a relatively simple procedure compared to some other states. You can often file the papers completely on your own. This guide will teach you, step-by-step, how to file for divorce in Colorado.
1. Fill Out the Divorce Papers
Before you will be able to file for divorce in Colorado, you must fully complete several divorce forms. Colorado's divorce process requires very few forms, and typically the most complicated of these is a petition.
A petition is required for a person to begin to file for divorce in Colorado. The petition will include information about you, your spouse, and any children that you have. It will also have information about your marriage, including when and where you were married. While some states allow spouses to allege marital misconduct, Colorado is a no-fault state that only allows you to allege that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
2. File the Paperwork
The next step required is for you to actually file for divorce in Colorado courts. This can be done by taking your completed paperwork to your local courthouse and asking to file the papers with the clerk of the court. You will have to pay a filing fee in order to file for divorce in Colorado, and once you have paid the fee, the clerk will file your papers and inform you of the next steps you must take.
3. Serve Your Spouse
As soon as possible after you file for divorce in Colorado, you will need to notify your spouse officially, a procedure known as “serving” them. This is usually done by paying a small fee to the sheriff's office, which will send a deputy to your spouse's home or workplace to serve the papers. In addition to a copy of your petition, your spouse will be advised in a summons of his or her right to file a written response and dispute anything in the petition.
4. Wait 90 Days
The state requires a 90 day waiting period for couples wishing to file for divorce in Colorado. This 90 day period gives couples a time when they can “cool off” and begin to negotiate a settlement deal. Some couples choose to seek counseling during this time, which may lead to a reconciliation and a cessation of the divorce process.
5. Settlement or Trial
If you and your spouse can agree about how to divide both your property and (if applicable) your parental responsibilities, you may be able to draft a settlement agreement. Settling out of court is almost always much cheaper, quicker, and easier than going to trial, so most couples who file for divorce in Colorado prefer settlement to trial.
If your case does go all the way to trial, expect it to take up to two years from when you file for divorce in Colorado until your divorce decree is signed by a judge and you are free to re-marry.