Colorado Divorce & Separation
Colorado, like every state, has unique laws and rules governing the separation or divorce process. It is perfectly natural to have a host of specific questions about Colorado divorce law. What are the requirements for legal separation and for getting a divorce in Colorado? What is the law on Colorado annulments? Find answers to your questions on divorce in the state of Colorado here.
Colorado Legal Separation:
In Colorado, legal separations require the same legal procedure as divorces, with all issues relating to children, custody, financial support, and property division formally resolved before a judge. The difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that in the case of a separation, you are still legally married. Should you decide to file for divorce later, the process may need to be completed again in its entirety, though the resolutions regarding material possessions arrived at during the separation proceedings may or may not be reconsidered during divorce proceedings. Common motivations for choosing legal separation over divorce are preservation of legal marriage status for tax or religious reasons, even though the parties may be certain they will not be reconciled in the foreseeable future. (Note: the above-mentioned "legal separation" is distinct from and should not be confused with the layman's use of the term "separation," in which two married people simply decide to live apart from each other without any intervention by the courts.) As in many other states, mediators and other informal means of resolving issues brought about in the divorce are available in Colorado.
Grounds for Divorce/Fault - No Fault:
Unlike legal separations, which do not require any grounds for court approval, divorces do require a no-fault filing, which typically asserts an "irretrievable breakdown" of the marriage relationship.
Residency/Where to File for Divorce:
One must file the petition with the district court which has jurisdiction over the case, which in Colorado is the court for the county in which at least one of the parties has resided for at least 90 days prior to the filing.
Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:
Dissolution of marriage by affidavit is possible when there are no minor children, a separation agreement has been entered, there are no disputes, no marital property (or in the alternative, agreement as to its division), and the non-filing party has been served with all relevant paperwork. An affidavit signed by both parties, represented by counsel, and stating these facts, will be sufficient for a dissolution of marriage by affidavit.
Colorado Divorce/Child Support/Child Custody Lawyers:
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Annulment in Colorado differs from divorce or legal separation proceedings in that the annulment declares the marriage to have been invalid, such that it never properly existed in the first place. Thus, if an annulment is obtained, a divorce or legal separation becomes unnecessary. Annulments are granted under a very limited set of circumstances: failure of a party to give voluntary legal consent at the time of the marriage ceremony (because of force, fraud, either party being under the age of18, either party suffering from mental illness, or either party being under the influence of drugs or other incapacitating substance), or the inability of a party to consummate the marriage with sexual intercourse. Note that these factors by themselves are sometimes not enough to justify annulment, especially in a case where the parties continued living together even after discovery of the incapacity.
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