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Colorado Divorce Facts

When going through a divorce in in Colorado, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of Colorado should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of Colorado Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified Colorado Divorce Professional.

  • One spouse must live in Colorado for 90 days before filing for divorce.
  • If there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, the spouses may file for a legal separation if at least one of them has been a resident of Colorado for 90 days.
  • Colorado recognizes common law marriages.
  • No-fault, which means irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, is the only grounds for dissolution. Traditional fault grounds such as adultery, abandonment, habitual drunkenness and mental cruelty may not be used.
  • At the request of either party, or at the discretion of the court, the judge may delay proceedings 30 to 60 days to allow for counseling.
  • Colorado divorce law requires a 90-day waiting period before granting a final decree of dissolution of the marriage. Most contested divorces in Colorado take at least 6-12 months. If the other spouse does not contest the divorce and the division of property, and there are no child custody or support issues, then a Colorado divorce may be obtained in as little as 90 days.
  • Within 40 days of the Petition for Dissolution being filed, the court holds an Initial Status Conference, where it is determined if there should be a formal hearing on temporary issues while the divorce is pending. The hearing on temporary issues usually deals with occupancy of the marital home, alimony, child support and custody.
  • The court awards alimony based on the spouses' financial situation, earning capacity, income, and the circumstances of the marriage. When one spouse stayed home to care for the children for several years while the other spouse earned the income supporting the family, the court will generally require the working spouse to continue supporting the family.
  • The divorce courts will require that the spouses file financial affidavits detailing their income, debts, and property.
  • Colorado uses a Schedule of Basic Child Support Guidelines, which is calculated on the incomes of both parents and the cost of day care. In Colorado, child support must be paid until the minor child reaches the age of 19, or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. The court may also require that the parent pay for college after age 19, but these payments will not be made to the parent with whom the child lives. Instead, child support payments after age 19 go to the child or the college.
  • Colorado does not automatically award custody of the minor children to the mother, and the court does not consider fault. The court considers what is in the best interests of the child. Colorado divorce law allows for two different kinds of child custody: primary residential and legal custody. Primary residential custody means the parent the child lives with; legal custody means the rights that a parent has to make important decision for the child. Usually, the judge will give joint legal custody to both parents and primary residential custody to only one of the parents.

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