Fort Collins Uncontested Divorce
Trusted Counsel for Your Divorce
There are two paths to getting divorced in Colorado: uncontested and contested. An uncontested divorce is when the parties can come to an agreement on their own without a court hearing.
In a contested divorce, the parties do not agree on the terms of their divorce and there is a court hearing.
If you are filing uncontested, you will likely have a much easier time finalizing your divorce and achieving your goals while saving time and money. That said, you will still want legal representation to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. As a Fort Collins divorce lawyer, I represent my clients in negotiations and mediation.
Who Can File for Divorce in Colorado?
To file for divorce in Colorado, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 90 days before filing. Colorado is a no-fault state. This means that there does not need to be any marital misconduct, like abuse or abandonment, to file for divorce.
The Uncontested Divorce Process
Filing for an uncontested divorce is certainly simpler than a contested divorce, but there are still plenty of steps and many requirements to meet.
The uncontested divorce process involves:
- Filing the case. There are generally three documents that you must file with the Clerk’s Office: a petition, a summons, and a case information sheet. Either party can be the first to file, and there is no significant advantage to being the party that files first.
- Notifying your spouse. You must notify your spouse when you file for divorce. There are three different ways that you can serve your spouse. First, you could give your spouse the documents yourself. Second, you could have your attorney give your spouse the documents and ask your spouse to sign a waiver of service. Third, you could have the documents served by a process server.
- Filing a response. The party receiving the documents must file a response. How long you have to file your answer depends on where you live. If the party lives in Colorado, then they have 21 days to file a response. If the party lives outside of Colorado, they have 35 days to respond.
- Completing financial disclosures. Once a divorce case is filed, the parties must complete financial disclosures, which includes filling out a sworn financial statement and providing certain financial documents.
- Completing a parenting class. If there are minor children, the parties must take a parenting class. This class can be completed online and usually takes about three to four hours.
- Initial status conference. An initial status conference will be scheduled at the Larimer County Justice Center. It usually takes place 30 to 40 days after the case is filed. During this initial status conference, the parties will determine what they agree on.
- Attending mediation. If there is any disagreement on issues, the court may order mediation. If the parties can reach an agreement before or during mediation, the divorce is uncontested.
- Filing a separation agreement. The separation agreement outlines property division, payment of debts, and spousal maintenance among other things.
- Filing a proposed support order. The proposed support order details the amount and term of child support and spousal maintenance to be paid by either party.
- Filing a parenting plan. The parenting plan details parental responsibilities, including parenting time, decision-making rights for the children, and child support payments.
- Filing a proposed dissolution of marriage decree. The proposed dissolution of marriage decree states that the marriage is legally dissolved. A judge must sign the order before it is final.
- Filing an affidavit for decree without appearance by parties. If there are no children, you may file an Affidavit for Decree Without Appearance by Parties. This affidavit allows the court to enter your Dissolution of Marriage Decree without you and your spouse entering the courthouse and attending a hearing.
- Attending a final hearing. If there are minor children, the judge will schedule a hearing to finalize the divorce. After the final hearing, the judge will sign the Dissolution of Marriage Decree and your divorce will be completed.
How Long Will My Divorce Take?
Colorado has a mandatory waiting period of 91 days between the service of the divorce papers and issuance of the divorce decree. If the parties agree on the terms of their divorce and do not delay in filing paperwork, the divorce can be finalized within three to six months.
Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce
There are many advantages to pursuing an uncontested rather than a contested divorce.
Consider filing uncontested because:
- The divorce process will be faster if you and your spouse have an uncontested divorce. Divorce is a very stressful time in a person’s life. The longer that it is dragged out, the harder that it can become.
- You will be saving money if your attorney does not have to spend hours preparing for trial. You will also not have to pay for experts to testify on your behalf.
- It can help maintain relationships. Particularly if you have children together, you will want to make sure you maintain a working relationship with your ex-spouse through the divorce. You and your ex-spouse will be parenting together in the future, and it will be best for the children if the relationship is not hostile.
Retain a Fort Collins Uncontested Divorce Attorney
Even if you think your divorce will be simple and uncontested, you should reach out to an attorney who can protect your interests and point out things that you may not have considered. If your divorce truly does end up being simple, the attorney will be able to quickly draft an agreement and costs will be minimal.