A Simplified Guide To Divorce

Couple Divorce

A Simplified Guide To Divorce

Splitting up with a spouse is difficult enough, but trying to figure out how to navigate divorce proceedings can be downright dismal. The following guide will help you figure out what you need to know and how to start.

How to start

While it’s always a good idea to get guidance from a qualified attorney, there are situations where divorce can be settled without attorney involvement. These situations usually include couples that do not have minor children or those with limited assets.

If a family law attorney is retained, they will usually begin the divorce proceedings by filing a petition for the dissolution of marriage. The other party will be served with the petition and has time to respond.

In the meantime, your attorney will want you to gather documents as a financial review of assets and debts is required. These documents may include the following:

  • Income tax records
  • Inventory of property
  • Real estate records
  • Investment and bank accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Wills, trusts, etc.
  • Pay stubs, profit and loss statement for those self-employed

Child custody

Nothing can be as contentious in divorce proceedings as child custody. While some couples can agree on custody and shared time, these discussions can often cause disputes and ill will. In Colorado, custody is divided into physical and legal.

  • Physical custody refers to where the child lives. This can change depending on split time with parents, but it means that wherever the child is at that moment, their physical and emotional needs should be met. This includes food, shelter, schooling, etc.
  • Legal custody refers to decisions about the child’s upbringing. This can include education, healthcare, etc. A number of factors are considered when determining if joint legal custody is appropriate.

Hearings, mediation, and settlement

Within the first 42 days after filing the petition, a hearing is scheduled with family court to go over financial information progress, if mediation or temporary orders are needed and how to proceed.

  • Mediation is a common process where a neutral third party helps both sides come to a compromise regarding contested issues. If an agreement cannot be made, it will proceed with a court hearing.
  • Temporary orders address obstacles that occur while divorce proceedings are ongoing. They can include child support or bill payment.
  • A divorce is final when the parties agree on everything, reaching a settlement agreement. Otherwise, it will go to trial where a judge will rule on the contentious issues and grant a divorce decree.

How much does it cost to get divorced?

There’s no way around it, divorce proceedings can be expensive. Parties that settle without attorneys can still see an average cost of $1,500-$2,000. The Colorado filing fee is $230, plus there are additional fees for response petitions, serving documents, and other costs like mediators and financial consultants, if necessary.

That fee will increase with attorney involvement. Colorado attorneys can vary on their rates. If the divorce is contentious and there are issues over child custody, property distribution, or alimony, the end fee can easily climb upwards of $10,000. However, costs can run significantly lower if there are limited disagreements.

How long does it take?

The shortest time period to divorce in Colorado is 90 days. However, this is for simple divorces not involving children or disputed matters. The average divorce takes around 6-12 months but could last a few years depending on asset size and if disagreements arise regarding property division, child support, or other matters.

The BAM Family Law offices have the experience and expertise to guide you through this difficult time. If you’re looking for advice, schedule a consultation to get more information and find out how we can help you.