The Divorce Process
Divorce is one of the most difficult things a family can face. Finances, property division, and time with children are topics that must now be addressed. Unfortunately, the process can be very overwhelming.
No matter the state where the couple is located, divorces can take a substantial amount of time. There are also several steps that the divorcing couple must perform to reach the final divorce decree. If you are facing a divorce, the best step to take is to consult an experienced attorney that can assist you in navigating the divorce process.
Colorado Divorce Process Attorneys
If you are navigating the divorce process in Colorado, it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified family law attorney. The divorce process can be highly emotional and stressful for families. Our lawyers can develop an individualized strategy to best meet your goals.
We have years of combined experience handling family law matters in Colorado Springs and around the surrounding counties of El Paso, Teller, Pueblo, Douglas, Denver, Elbert, Fremont, Pueblo, Lincoln and Arapahoe. Our legal team also serves clients in Denver, CO. Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a consultation today with Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC.
To be able to file a petition for the dissolution of marriage in Colorado, one spouse must have been domiciled in the state for at least 90 days. To be domiciled, the individual must do more than just live in Colorado. The basis for domicile requires an intent to live in or remain in that state. This intent can be demonstrated by mailing addresses, voter registration, or purchasing a home or land in the state. These factors show intent to live in the state and remain in that state as a place of residence.
In some states, there may be several legal reasons that may serve as grounds for divorce. However, in Colorado, divorces are “no-fault.” This means neither party has to prove that the other caused or was the cause of the divorce. A no-fault divorce requires that those filing state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. While Colorado divorces are no-fault, courts may consider fault-based arguments for determining components of the divorce proceedings, like dividing property or awarding alimony.
The first step of the divorce process is filing for divorce. This requires that you meet the above requirements and file a petition requesting the dissolution of the marriage.
The second step is determining the need for a mediator or court intervention. Depending on the nature of the divorce, the proceedings may be joint or separate. In some cases, spouses may agree on many of the terms involved with the divorce, and escalation to a mediator or court is unnecessary. In those circumstances where all the substantial issues are agreed upon (a “no-contest” divorce), the divorce may become final after 91 days.
However, the reality is that many divorces are contested and require intervention from a neutral third party like a mediator or a judge. When one spouse files the divorce petition against the other, the receiving spouse has 21 days to file a response with the court to that petition. Within 42 days of the initial petition, the two parties and legal representation will attend an initial status conference. The initial status conference sets a schedule, outlining important dates and events necessary to resolve divorce issues. Depending on whether the conference is held before a judge or magistrate, the court may hear requests for emergency relief or temporary orders; these orders often involve child and spousal support. For those conferences not held in front of a judge, a hearing will be scheduled, where the parties have the opportunity to request any formal temporary orders. During the 42 days before the initial status conference, each spouse must exchange initial disclosures regarding financials. The information disclosed at this time includes current income, assets, debt, and monthly expenses to allow each spouse to begin building their case for dissolution.
After initial disclosures have occurred, the court will schedule a temporary orders hearing if one has not already been performed. The court will hear motions regarding emergency issues, like child custody or spousal support. It may be necessary to make these motions because, regardless of the divorce proceedings, children still require care from their parents. In some circumstances, one spouse may need financial assistance from the other to participate in divorce proceedings. As the name suggests, these orders are temporary and will discontinue after the court resolves those issues in the final divorce decree.
in most divorce cases, discovery is required. Discovery is the process of obtaining information from the other spouse through their legal counsel to establish their case. Common discovery instruments include interrogatories, admissions, or document production requests. Interrogatories are questions that the opposing spouse must answer under oath. Admissions are similar to interrogatories, but these questions ask the opposing spouse to either affirm or deny the statement posed to them to help establish their case and minimize argument throughout the discovery and trial process. The information obtained from these discovery instruments is vital to essential determinations made in the case. For example, information obtained from the opposing spouse can help the court determine issues like the amount of spousal support, child custody, or the division of assets.
Some courts will require the parties to undergo mediation to settle some or all of the outstanding issues in a divorce proceeding. The court hopes that these agreements can be reached without court intervention. If mediation is unsuccessful, the process goes to trial, where the court will hear permanent orders. These are orders covering the issues above, like the division of assets and grants of child custody, alimony, or child support. After the court has heard all the evidence and arguments, it will make a final determination.
Divorce, Colorado Judicial Branch – Access the official website for the Colorado Judicial Branch which provides information addressing many questions you may have about the divorce process. You can learn more about name changes and court appearance.
Bridge to Justice – Visit the official website for the Bridge to Judge which is a non-profit organization that provides civil legal services to low and moderate-income Colorado residents who do not qualify for free legal aid. Bridge to Justice offers legal representation for divorce and legal separation, Protection Orders, and more. To learn more, visit Bridge to Justice’s website.
Denver Divorce Lawyers | Denver County, CO
While having an attorney in most legal proceedings is important, it is crucial in divorce proceedings. Divorce proceedings are the final determination of essential issues that can see the loss of substantial property, financial support, or even child custody. If you are navigating the divorce process, an experienced family law attorney at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC can help you achieve the best result possible.
Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts divorce cases throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area including Jefferson County, Douglas County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, Boulder County, and Broomfield County. Our attorneys also serve clients in Colorado Springs in El Paso County, CO. Call (719) 328-1616 to schedule a consultation with Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC.