Divorce doesn’t have to be a lonely process. We’re here every step of the way.
Divorce, unfortunately, can be a lengthy process. We’ve outlined the steps below to give you an idea of the process and timing.
First, Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, which means:
- Either party can request the court issue a divorce decree
- One party must claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken
- The marital property is divided without consideration of marital misconduct
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
A divorce is started by the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This is a legal document that provides the court information regarding the marriage and the issues that need to be resolved.
Once the Petition and a Summons are filed in the court and served on the other party, there is a 91-day waiting period before the court can issue a divorce decree.
91-day waiting period
During this time, the case is overseen by the court and managed pursuant to rules enacted by the legislature. The court will conduct periodic status conferences to ensure the case is moving toward completion and to assist the parties in resolving any issues that arise during the process.
The judge assigned to your case may issue additional case management orders, including setting deadlines for the parties to request the appointment of experts, for the completion of discovery, and for scheduling mediation.
During the 91-day waiting period, the parties are required to exchange financial disclosures and attempt to resolve all outstanding issues. Most cases are resolved through negotiation and compromise, oftentimes with the assistance of a mediator.
After the petition is filed and served, either party may ask the court to enter “temporary orders.” Orders provide stability for the parties during the divorce process on temporary issues such as parental responsibility, child support, maintenance, payment of debts, attorney fees, and use of property, including the marital residence. These orders remain in effect during the dissolution process and expire once the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and Permanent Orders are entered.
Hearing for permanent orders
If parties cannot agree on all the issues, a hearing for permanent orders and certain disclosures are required. For example, you must disclose to the other party the name, address, telephone number, and a brief summary of the testimony of any witnesses that you intend to call to testify on your behalf. If expert testimony is required, the expert’s report is due in advance of the hearing. Experts are used to testify to the value of a property or residence, a business, a person’s employability, and the best interest of the children. Failure to properly disclose expert and witness testimony may result in the court disallowing such testimony.
Exchange of exhibits
Prior to the permanent orders hearing, the parties and attorneys must meet to address all issues relevant to the case, including stipulations, anticipated witnesses, estimated hearing time and to exchange all exhibits for inspection. Exhibits must be presented to the opposing party in advance of any hearing. Failure to provide the other party a copy of any exhibit, may result in the court prohibiting the exhibit from being admitted into evidence.
The process can be complicated if all issues are not resolved by agreement.