When it comes to grounds for divorce or the dissolution of marriage, the state of Colorado is considered a no-fault state. In the past, a spouse who wished to get a divorce had to prove a basis such as physical abuse, adultery, or abandonment.
Today, however, the only requirements to be granted a divorce in Colorado are:
1) That one of the parties must have resided in Colorado at least 90 days before the divorce proceeding commences
2) That the marriage is irretrievably broken
3) That a minimum of 90 days have passed since the court acquired jurisdiction over the two parties
In Colorado, you do not need the consent of your spouse in order to get a divorce. You simply need to establish that the marriage is irretrievably broken. There is an automatic presumption that the marriage is irretrievably broken when either both parties—by petition or otherwise—declare under oath that the marriage is irretrievably broken, or if one of the parties has stated such and the other party has not denied it.
Unless challenged by evidence from the other spouse, the court is required at the hearing to find that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If, however, your spouse denies this fact under oath, the court must then consider various factors, such as the possibility of reconciliation and the circumstances that led to the filing of the divorce in the first place. The court will then make a finding of whether the marriage is indeed irretrievably broken, or will schedule another hearing at a later date. In such event, you and your spouse must be prepared to attend either counseling or court-ordered mediation.
Of course, it is not only uncommon for one party to claim for the marriage to be irretrievably broken and the other party to deny this claim, but it is even more uncommon for Colorado courts to hold hearings for such issue. Colorado courts almost always accept the position of the filing party that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Getting a divorce with an uncooperative or even missing spouse might lead to a lengthier or more complex process, particularly if children or significant assets are involved. It is, however, still very much possible. The court will do what it can to ensure that measures are taken to serve your spouse with papers. If your spouse cannot be found, Colorado courts may find that service through publication in any newspaper of general readership. If your spouse does not cooperate or does not file an answer, Colorado court can grant you a default judgement, which could include granting your custody and property requests if they are reasonable.
Though your spouse’s refusal to respond to your divorce petition can delay the divorce process, it will not prevent it completely. It is possible for the marriage to be legally ended—with or without your spouse’s consent.