If you’re thinking about getting a divorce in Colorado, you might mistakenly believe it’s simply a matter of filing paperwork (a dissolution of marriage form) with the court. Yes, divorce is a legal matter that can only be obtained through the court. But before the court will sign a decree of legal separation or divorce, you must work out a complete divorce plan. The written document that details these terms, and is given to the court, is called a separation agreement.
The separation agreement must include the following:
1. Assets, such as houses, furniture, jewelry, cars and money, that you have accumulated during the marriage must be accounted for and divided. Here, you will need to distinguish between marital assets (anything bought or acquired during the marriage, gift to each other, and any increase in value of assets during the marriage) and separate assets (assets you brought to the marriage, or gifts and inheritances you got during the marriage, except from each other).
2. Debts, including taxes, must be accounted for and paid, or you and your soon-to-be ex must decide who is going to pay them. Likewise, you will want to distinguish between marital debts and separate debts.
3. A parenting plan for your children must be written up, and you must decide about their financial support.
4. A consideration about maintenance. If either you or your spouse is supporting the other person financially, you must decide if and how that will continue post-divorce.
5. You must arrange to pay for any costs of the divorce itself: the court filing fee, mediators, lawyers, accountants, recording fees.
6. You must agree when and under what circumstances any of your agreements will end or change.
For more information about the steps involved in divorce or legal separation, check out the “Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Colorado: How to Plan, Negotiate and File Your Divorce, 8th Edition” by M. Arden Hauer, MA, JD