Uncontested Divorce Colorado
Uncontested Divorce Lawyer in Denver, CO
In many cases, we imagine the divorce process in Colorado to be messy, long, and emotionally draining. However, spouses can sometimes agree on everything before they even start the divorce process. Those who have no qualms about property division, child support, child custody, and other issues can benefit from an uncontested divorce. At Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, we offer legal advice and representation for a wide variety of family law matters. No matter how complicated your financial situation is, our Denver family lawyers have the experience necessary to help you. To arrange a consultation, please call 303-951-4506 or fill out our online intake form today.
Is It Possible for a Colorado Divorce to be Uncontested?
Absolutely. Uncontested divorces are possible for those couples who want to avoid expensive, messy, and lengthy legal proceedings. In fact, it’s possible to finalize an uncontested divorce in less than 90 days, barring any setbacks or complications.
Before attempting to go with this route, we recommend speaking with an attorney to iron out the big issues. Specifically, ensure that you and your spouse agree on the following topics.
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Child custody
- Marital property
- Retirement accounts
- Parenting time
If both parties reach an agreement on the above topics, you can avoid a messy contested divorce. Below, we detail the requirements for uncontested divorces, as well as the overall process for those who do or do not have minor children.
How Do I File an Uncontested Divorce in Colorado?
To begin the divorce procedure, fill out a petition for dissolution of marriage and submit it with the court clerk in the county district court where you or your spouse resides, along with a few additional documents. Colorado permits both spouses to sign and submit the paperwork as co-petitioners in an uncontested divorce. You’ll save time and money on filing costs if you do it this way. If you don’t, you’ll have to submit the papers on your own, in which case you are the petitioner and your spouse the respondent.
You don’t have to send a copy of the affidavit to your spouse if you filed the divorce papers jointly with them. Unless your partner signs a waiver of service, you will have to serve the documents if you filed them alone. This is normally done by having your county’s sheriff deliver them by hand.
Fill Out Then Submit Your Divorce Paperwork
The very first step in getting an uncontested divorce in Colorado is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. You may get this document from the district court in the county where you or your spouse lives. It is not possible to file it online. Unless one or both parties are represented by a lawyer, documents must be brought to the court in person. Importantly, there are two options for filing, which we list below.
- You and your spouse file together as co-petitioners.
- You file alone as the petitioner, while your spouse is the respondent.
Serve Your Spouse
If you file for divorce as Co-Petitioners, which is frequent in uncontested divorce cases, you can bypass this stage. You must provide a copy of the petition to your spouse and verify to the court that he or she has gotten it if you submit the documents alone. This is referred to as serving papers.
You can also have your spouse served by your county sheriff. Otherwise, ask your partner to sign a waiver of service form which you obtain from the district court clerk’s office.
Sign the Separation Agreement and Parenting Plan
In an uncontested divorce, a separation agreement is essential. This form documents the topics you and your partner have resolved throughout your divorce. Both parties must agree that it correctly reflects the terms of their agreement.
A separation agreement generally must address the following issues.
- Alimony payments or maintenance agreements
- Marital property division agreements
- Division of debts
If the marriage produced minor children, you will also need to prepare a parenting plan that addresses child custody, parenting schedules, and follows Colorado child support guidelines. In such cases, a court hearing is more probable.
The court will examine the divorce agreement to see whether it is fair, and if everything is in order, the agreement’s stipulations will be implemented and become legally enforceable. There will be no need to appear in court. You may be required to submit a new legal separation agreement if it is judged unfair.
In a case where there are children involved, the court reviews the parenting plan to ensure that it provides for the best interests of the children.
Decree by Affidavit
You can use a “decree by affidavit” if you have a separation agreement but no children, or if you have children but a parenting plan and both sides are advised by attorneys. You can submit a form called an Affidavit for Decree without Appearance of Parties in this situation. This document states that you fulfill the conditions for a non-contested divorce, and that the Court may award your divorce based on a review of your paperwork rather than requiring the parties to attend court for a hearing.
Requirements for Uncontested Divorce in Colorado
If your divorce is uncontested, the court may issue it after you present an affidavit rather than having you attend court for a hearing. This may make the procedure less frustrating and time-consuming for both spouses, as well as more practical. Colorado, on the other hand, provides qualifying standards for each couple pursuing an uncontested divorce. The following are the details.
- At least one of you must have lived in Colorado for more than 90 days.
- Both spouses agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
- There is no marital property, or you signed a separation agreement that outlines property division.
- There are no minor children involved, and neither spouse is pregnant. If minor children are involved, you have signed a parenting plan that covers child custody, visitation, and child support. You must also both be represented by attorneys.
What Are the Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce?
It’s perfectly normal to feel unsure about whether an uncontested divorce is right for you. However, the process itself has many benefits. To help you decide whether it’s the best choice for your situation, we list its benefits below.
- Low cost: Compared to a traditional divorce process, an uncontested divorce is comparatively cheap. Other than simple filing fees, your attorney costs will likely be much lower.
- Faster conclusion: If you and your spouse agree on terms like spousal support, child custody issues, parental responsibilities, and dividing property fairly, you can achieve your divorce in as soon as three months.
- Amicable conclusion: The ability to agree on everything in an uncontested divorce often prevents messy arguments and litigation in a courtroom. This at least somewhat helps to preserve the relationship between you and your spouse, which is great if there are children involved.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Colorado?
Many divorces in Colorado take 6 to 9 months to conclude, according to the problems at hand and, in particular, whether or not they are disputed. Because the essential stages will depend on the individual circumstances in your situation, there is no one set of processes that will apply to every instance. However, uncontested divorces can begin and end in as little as three months.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Colorado?
When you file for an uncontested divorce, the filing fee is $230.00. The cost to file an answer to the petition is $116.00. Additionally, the cost to serve the petition on the other party is anywhere from $50 to $70. Also keep in mind that you can file a co-petition, which allows you to avoid the filing costs and the cost of serving your spouse. Combine the above fees that you pay with your attorney fees, then you have your total.
Can I File My Own Divorce in Colorado?
You’ll need to fill out divorce documents to begin the divorce procedure while representing yourself. The Colorado Judicial Branch’s divorce and family issues forms database has these forms available online. Local jurisdictions may have extra requirements, despite the fact that they are official Colorado forms. Before filing, double-check the regulations in your county with your local court clerk.
Finalizing Your Colorado Uncontested Divorce
Both parties may be required to attend a final court hearing to conclude an uncontested divorce. A judge will review the divorce documents and sign the separation agreement, completing the divorce. Uncontested divorces can relieve many spouses of the strain and costs associated with disputed divorces. In Colorado and across the United States, it is a valid type of separation. Evaluate an uncontested divorce as a feasible option to a drawn-out and pricey disputed divorce if you fulfill the qualifying conditions.
Do You Need a Lawyer for Uncontested Divorce?
You’ll likely be able to conduct your uncontested divorce without the assistance of a lawyer, but you might want to have a lawyer check through your paperwork and examine your settlement agreement, particularly if you have small children or significant assets. Couples with brief marriages, no small children to care for, and few assets to distribute may be able to conclude their divorce without employing an attorney, especially if their state provides a streamlined divorce process that suits their needs.
Couples in more complicated situations may continue without lawyers, but they should move with caution because one or both partners may be surrendering significant legal rights. It could be a good idea to engage a consulting attorney to go over your documents and prospective settlement agreement with you to ensure you haven’t made any mistakes or accidentally waived a legal claim.
Contact Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton Today
The best way to determine the appropriate course of action for your divorce is to consult with an experienced Denver divorce attorney. At Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, we handle a wide array of family law cases in Colorado, from high asset divorce to child support for high income earners and more. With the help of our experienced team of legal professionals, you can rest assured that you’ll receive only the best from our law firm. To arrange a consultation with us about your case, please call 303-951-4506 or fill out our online intake form today.