A Step-by-Step Guide to Filing for Divorce in Colorado
Filing for divorce in Colorado involves several steps. Although the process may vary slightly depending on individual circumstances, here is a general overview of the procedure:
- Determine eligibility: To file for divorce in Colorado, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least 91 days before filing the petition.
- Gather necessary forms: You will need to complete several forms to initiate the divorce process, which can be found on the Colorado Judicial Branch website or at your local courthouse. Key forms include:
- JDF 1101 – Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation
- JDF 1102 – Case Information Sheet
- JDF 1103 – Summons for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation
- Complete the forms: Fill out the required forms, providing accurate and complete information about both spouses, any children, marital assets and debts, and other relevant details.
- File the forms: Submit the completed forms to the appropriate district court in the county where either you or your spouse resides. You will need to pay a filing fee when submitting the paperwork. If you are unable to afford the fee, you can apply for a fee waiver using JDF 205 – Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit.
- Serve your spouse: Once you’ve filed the forms, you must serve your spouse with copies of the paperwork. This can be done through a process server, a sheriff’s deputy, or an individual over the age of 18 who is not involved in the case. After serving your spouse, the server must complete JDF 1104 – Return of Service, which you must then file with the court.
- Wait for a response: Your spouse has 21 days (or 35 days if they live out of state) to respond to the divorce petition by filing JDF 1106 – Response to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation.
- Financial disclosures: Both spouses are required to complete and exchange financial disclosures within 42 days of the petition being served. The disclosures typically include details about income, expenses, assets, and debts. You will need to complete JDF 1111 – Sworn Financial Statement and, if applicable, JDF 1111SS – Supporting Schedules for Assets.
- Parenting class: If you have children, both parents are usually required to attend a court-approved parenting class, which focuses on helping your children adjust during the divorce process.
- Negotiation and settlement: After exchanging financial disclosures, both parties can attempt to negotiate a settlement agreement. If successful, the agreement can be presented to the court for approval using JDF 1113 – Separation Agreement or JDF 1115 – Parenting Plan (if children are involved).
- Final hearing: If an agreement is reached, the court will schedule a final hearing to review the settlement and issue a decree. If no agreement can be reached, the court may require mediation or schedule a contested hearing to decide on the unresolved issues.
It is always a good idea to consult with a Denver family law attorney at Baker Law Group to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. Our Denver Divorce Lawyers can provide guidance on the specific requirements and procedures for your situation.