things to know before filing for a divorce

5 Things to Know Before Filing for Divorce in Colorado

Did you know that Colorado is a “no-fault” divorce state? This has profound implications on whether or not a divorce will be granted in Colorado; there must be what is termed “irretrievable breakdown” in a marriage. It must be obvious to an objective observer that there is no chance of salvaging the relationship. The faults of either party, such as drug abuse or adultery, are not considered with regard to the dividing of assets.

Here are four more basic facts to be aware of, before filing for divorce in Colorado.

Colorado Residency Requirement and Waiting Period for Divorce

Before filing for divorce in Colorado, both parties must be a resident of the state for at least 90 days. In addition, the state will not begin divorce proceedings until at least 90 days after the initial filing. Couples pursuing a divorce who have yet to meet the minimum residency requirement may have to wait longer.

Under most circumstances, the state of Colorado does not require mediation during a divorce proceeding. A mandatory 30- to 60-day counseling period may be applied, however, further lengthening the overall process. This is likely to happen in cases where one or both spouses do not sign an affidavit confirming their belief that their differences are irreconcilable.

Parental Responsibilities: Parenting time vs. Decision Making

Many people refer to parental responsibilities as “child custody” as it is referred to in many other states. However, the Courts in Colorado do not refer to “custody.”  Instead Colorado Courts use the term “parental responsibilities.” Parental responsibilities refers to parenting time and decision making.  Parenting time refers to the parenting schedule the children will have. Decision making refers to ability to make major decisions from medical, extracurricular, educational, religious decision making.

It is possible to settle custody rights between the divorcing spouses, out of court. If the matter is brought before the court to be settled, the court looks at the best interests of the child (or children) being affected.

Division of Property

A Colorado court will set aside any property or assets that are “separate.” Under Colorado law, this applies to property that is acquired before the marriage, or after separation. It also applies to anything gifted to or inherited by either spouse, and anything described as being separate in a legal agreement affirmed by both spouses.

Other property, termed “marital property,” will be divided in a manner which the court perceives of as being fair. It is possible, and often desirable, for the divorcing spouses to draw up a legal separation agreement out of court, which—if ratified by both individuals—the court will adhere to.

On Counseling, and Saving the Marriage

If, at any point in their marriage, a Colorado resident feels like there is a problem with their marriage—but that it might be salvaged—they would be well-advised to behave proactively. Statistically, measures such as talking things out, or seeing a counselor, are most often successful when they are engaged promptly.

Should it come down to a divorce, this proactive stance early on will also present an individual more favorably to the court, in a way that may shorten the process and lessen the discomfort and anguish of a drawn-out divorce proceeding.

The information in this post is not legal advice—it is only legal information.  To obtain legal advice by hiring the attorneys of Broxterman Alicks McFarlane PC as your counsel, please contact the firm at or 303-331-6432.

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