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Divorce - General, Laws and Process
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Many people associate ending a marriage only with divorce, but there are several ways to end a marriage. In addition to dissolution, Colorado has annulments (literally, a declaration of invalidity of marriage), used in limited circumstances to not only end the marriage, but to pretend that it never occurred, and legal separations, which end marriages for all practical purposes, including financial and parenting, even though the couple is technically still married.
All too often divorce professionals view divorce as just a series of legal proceedings. Divorce papers are served and filed with the court, attorneys request additional paperwork from the other party, the couple has court-mandated dates to meet and parenting classes to attend, attorneys negotiate with the opposing side, and ultimately, sooner or later, the divorce is final.
In the course of my divorce financial and mediation practice, I have often had clients repeat some specific piece of information they received from a well-meaning relative or friend. In general, such information should be taken with a very large grain of salt, indeed.
Six months following a Colorado judges entry of a legal separation (formally referred to by Colorado divorce law as a Decree of Legal Separation), either divorced party may follow a relatively simple process to seek a final dissolution of the marriage (commonly referred to as a divorce and formally known as a "Decree of Dissolution of Marriage") in Colorado.
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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