Divorce Process in Colorado

Divorce Overview

The shortest length of time that it will take to get divorced in Colorado is 92 days after filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Further, the parties must be domiciled in the state of Colorado for more than 91 days prior to filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

The reality is that every divorce proceeds at its own pace.  The factors that affect the duration of the divorce from start to finish can be based on the personalities of the parties, their approach, the complexity of the assets, and if children are involved. At Kalamaya | Goscha, we keep our clients involved in the process each step of the way.  We guide our clients, so they know what to expect as they move forward so there are no surprises along the way.

In general, there is a process in Colorado that each divorce takes and the following lays out the major steps:  

  • Completing the Petition. The Petition starts the divorce legal process which provides information regarding the parties, children, and other issues. You must complete a Case Information Sheet along with the Petition.
  • Filing and serving the Petition. The attorney then files the Petition with the District Court, and the other spouse must be personally served with the Petition and Case Information Sheet. The other spouse can also sign a Waiver of Service to avoid personal service.
  • The Response. The served spouse must file a Response within 21 days, acknowledging that they understand the Petition. The Response will indicate how they wish to handle decisions.
  • Exchange of Financial Documents. Each party must complete a Sworn Financial Statement and must provide initial financial disclosures to the other spouse within 42 days of service of the Petition. Form 35.1 provides a list of documents the parties must disclose and exchange – Form 35.1. By sharing this information, the two sides and the court can determine how to divide assets and how to address child support and spousal support. The exchange of initial financial disclosures also helps identify property that may need a separate valuation (i.e. a real estate appraisal or business valuation).
  • Formal Discovery. Parties can issue formal discovery if they need more financial information. The type of formal discovery a party may issue are Interrogatories (questions for the other spouse to answer), or Requests for Productions of Documents (additional documents the other spouse must produce). The other party has 35 days to respond to a formal discovery request once served.
  • Mediation or Settlement. Ideally, couples can resolve matters amicably in a timely fashion. Each divorce case in Colorado will be referred to mediation.  Mediation is a confidential process facilitated by a third-party neutral who works with the parties and counsel to see if the parties can reach agreements on all issues. 
  • Court approval or settlement agreement. If parties reach agreements on their own or in mediation, the court issues a divorce decree if it approves the agreements (Separation Agreement and Parenting Plan if there are children). If there are still issues in dispute, the case will then go to trial.
  • Trial. The judge listens to arguments and evidence from each side regarding areas in dispute and then issues a ruling.
  • Appealing the ruling. Either or both spouses can appeal the ruling, but this is rarely successful. Rather than retry the case, the higher court examines the details of the trial to ensure that it followed legal protocol.

Kalamaya | Goscha is a Colorado law firm founded by Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha. We guide and support clients through determining and modifying child support. Our boutique mountain law practice specializes in divorce, child custody, and family law. Kalamaya | Goscha has law offices in Edwards, Aspen, and Glenwood Springs. To speak to one of our capable attorneys call (970) 315-2365.

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