Bradford Publishing Co.
Who may file for divorce in Colorado?
In order for you to obtain a Colorado divorce or legal separation, one of you must be a Colorado resident for at least 91 days before filing your first papers with the court. Obtaining a Colorado driver’s license or Registering to Vote in Colorado indicates your intention to make Colorado your home.
When to file for divorce or legal separation
There are many factors to keep in mind when deciding when to file your petition.
• Where each person is in the grief process and their readiness to proceed.
• If you have children, where they are in the school year can be a factor.
• If there is concern about either of you running up debt or spending assets, sooner can be better.
• Tax status. Your tax status changes in the year of your decree. So you may want to file sooner as joint taxpayers, if it will save significant money.
All of this is a personal choice.
What happens when you file your Petition?
When you file your Petition, the court will issue a Case Management Order to you both. The court will assign your case to a Magistrate or Judge, and to a Family Court Facilitator or other person in the court who will facilitate and manage your case through the court process. Case Management Orders vary from court to court, but they all detail the things you must do and deadlines by which they must be done. Here are some examples:
• Exchange certain documents and papers, called Mandatory Disclosures. This must be done within 42 days of filing the Petition.
• Attend an initial status conference within 42 days of filing the Petition.
• Attend parenting classes if you have children.
• Possible mediation if you can’t resolve issues.
• File your Sworn Financial Statements with the court within the correct time frame.
Where to file
Divorces take place in the state court, as opposed to federal or municipal court. The divorce or legal separation should be filed and heard in the district court of the County where your marital home was, or is. Technically, you can file in any district court in Colorado, but that may cause a delay and more work if court administrators decide to move the filings. It’s best if the two of you agree on which district you will use before you file. You may pick the court that is most convenient for both of you. If your divorce remains friendly and cooperative, you won’t have to spend much time in court anyway.
For more information about doing your own divorce in Colorado, check out the “Friendly Divorce Guidebook ” by M. Arden Hauer MA, JD