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Filing for divorce in Colorado

Getting divorced is never easy. When children are involved emotions can run high. For high-income couples, the emotional stress may be compounded by the complexity of the asset division process.

Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. That means you don't need to allege your spouse is at fault in some way for causing the breakdown of the marriage, and the court will not place blame on either party. You simply need to state in the divorce petition that your marriage is "irretrievably broken." You can file for divorce on your own even if your spouse doesn't want to get divorced. If your spouse doesn't respond to the petition, the court can issue the divorce decree by default.

You need to have been a Colorado resident for 90 days before filing for divorce. You must have resided here with the intent to remain permanently; an out-of-state person cannot come to Colorado and stay for 90 days just to get a divorce.

Once the petition for dissolution of marriage is filed, the court enters a temporary injunction to maintain the status quo on certain issues until a Permanent Order is entered. The injunction will bar you or your spouse from transferring or selling assets that might constitute marital property, and from taking any children of the marriage out of the state or the country.

It is very hard to predict how long the divorce process will take. If you and your spouse can agree on issues like child custody, visitation and property division, the process will be shorter. If there are disputes that require resolution by the court, the process can take much longer. At a bare minimum, the court will not issue a divorce decree less than 90 days from the date the petition is filed; this is intended as a cooling-off period in case the couple changes their minds. In most cases the divorce will require more than 90 days and if there are disputes the process can take months or possible even years.

Source: Colorado Legal Services, "Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage," accessed Aug. 31, 2014

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