Colorado Uncontested Divorce – Frequently Asked Questions
An uncontested divorce is considered a faster and easier way to terminate a marriage. Here’s what you need to know about this type of divorce and whether it’s right for you. For legal advice in your particular divorce case, please consult our experienced Colorado divorce attorneys.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce means there are no disputes regarding any of the divorce issues such as property division, marital debt, spousal maintenance (alimony), child custody, and child support. A divorce can be uncontested in either of these two situations:
- Decree upon affidavit. Both spouses agree between themselves on all divorce issues and have put their agreement in writing. They can then submit their agreement as an affidavit to the court, and once the judge approves it, it becomes their final divorce decree.
- Divorce by default. One spouse files for divorce but the other does not file their response. Replying to the divorce complaint is the respondent’s chance to raise disputes, if there are any. In Colorado, the respondent normally has 21 days to reply, starting from the date they are served the divorce papers. If they fail to do so, the judge will likely finalize the divorce by granting all the claims in the initial divorce complaint.
What are the benefits of getting an uncontested divorce in Colorado?
Compared to a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce is faster, less costly, and less stressful for both parties. Since there is no dispute, there’s no need to go through dispute resolution or to have the divorce proceed to trial. The couple doesn’t have to wait for the busy court to set hearings, and if they hire attorneys, they’ll still save a significant amount by avoiding a lengthy trial.
Another benefit of an uncontested divorce is that children don’t have to experience the emotional ordeal of a bitter courtroom battle. In addition, the spouses can be in control of parenting arrangements, according to what they know is best for their child. By contrast, a contested divorce may go to litigation where it’s up to the judge to decide on child custody.
How long does an uncontested divorce take in Colorado?
At the minimum, an uncontested divorce in Colorado can take 91 days, starting from the date of joint filing. This is because Colorado law mandates judges to wait at least 90 days before signing a divorce decree, even if it’s uncontested.
Though 91 days is the quickest possible time to finalize a Colorado divorce, in reality, the process is usually longer for various reasons. For instance, the couple will need to complete their Separation Agreement, which requires a comprehensive look at their individual finances. If they have minor children, they’ll also need to prepare a Parenting Plan and a Child Support Worksheet. The more cooperative the spouses are, the faster they can complete the process.
How much does an uncontested divorce cost in Colorado?
The cost of filing a divorce petition in Colorado is $230. Both spouses may file jointly as co-petitioners in order to avoid the expense of serving the divorce petition. Other costs in an uncontested divorce include court filing fees (of other required documents) and attorney fees. In total, a typical uncontested divorce in Colorado may cost between $2,800 and $4,200, depending on significant factors such as if minor children are involved.
Do I have to go to court for uncontested divorce in Colorado?
No, you typically don’t have to go to court for an uncontested divorce in Colorado. You can have your attorney file the paperwork for you, particularly the “Affidavit for Decree Without Appearance of Parties.” This affidavit lets the court know that all required documents have been filed, and asks the judge to enter the divorce decree without you or your spouse having to appear in court.
If you and your spouse have a minor child together, you each need to be represented by an attorney. With your lawyers, you must craft a signed agreement on child custody, child support, and visitation, and this agreement must be filed together with the affidavit. The judge will review these documents to ensure they support your child’s best interests. In some cases, the judge will request both you and your spouse to attend one final hearing before granting the divorce.
Can you get a divorce without your spouse’s signature in Colorado?
Yes, you can get divorced without your spouse’s signature in Colorado. Once you’ve filed the divorce petition, your spouse must file their reply on time. Otherwise, they will default on their right to raise their disagreements, and the judge will grant the divorce in your favor.
In rare cases, the respondent does reply by denying that the marriage is broken. In Colorado, it is presumed that if one spouse files for divorce, the marriage is already “irretrievably broken” and thus divorce should eventually take place. However, if the responding spouse asserts that the marriage is not broken, the court may hold a hearing on this matter.
How do you resolve a disagreement that’s holding up an uncontested divorce in Colorado?
Even couples who have disagreements between themselves may be able to get an uncontested divorce if they iron out their conflicts. One way to do this is by going through mediation. In this out-of-court dispute resolution process, an independent third-party called a mediator facilitates communication between the spouses. The mediator doesn’t make decisions but only encourages the spouses to find a mutually favorable resolution.
Do I qualify for an uncontested divorce in Colorado?
To be eligible for an uncontested divorce in Colorado, you need to meet these general requirements:
- You or your spouse must have resided in Colorado for at least 90 days.
- Both you and your spouse agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
- You and your spouse have an agreement on how marital property will be divided.
- If you and your spouse have a minor child together, you both must have an agreement on child custody, child support, and visitation. Each of you must also be represented by an attorney.
- Neither you or your spouse is pregnant at the time of filing.
Do I need a lawyer for a Colorado uncontested divorce?
The law does not require you to have a lawyer to get an uncontested divorce in Colorado, but in many cases, having an attorney makes a significant difference. An uncontested divorce lawyer provides valuable assistance in areas such as:
- Crafting a Separation Agreement that’s legally sound and equitable
- Working out a Parenting Plan that’s best for the child and also fair to the parents
- Protecting your rights and entitlements during negotiations
- Ensuring all required paperwork is complete, accurate, and duly filed.
Getting an attorney doesn’t mean getting adversarial. On the contrary, a lawyer can help you accomplish this kind of divorce process smoothly and in a manner that’s fair to all involved.
Call an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Colorado
With over 25 years of combined experience, the divorce attorneys at Goldman Law have helped numerous spouses complete their divorce efficiently and equitably. Our priority is safeguarding what you’re entitled to while keeping the process as agreeable as possible. For this, we have earned top ratings in Family Law from professional organizations as well as from Coloradans who have worked with us.
See how we can help you in your uncontested divorce. Call Goldman Law today at (303) 656-9529.