Firstly, you will need to determine if you are eligible to file for divorce in Colorado. The legal requirement is that you have lived in the state for a minimum of 91 days. If that is the case, then you are ready to begin proceedings.
Next, you will need to complete two downloadable forms: the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation and the Summons for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation. Once these are complete, it is simply a matter of filing them directly with the court. That means you will need to physically present them at your local county court. You will need to pay a fee for this, and once that is settled you may be asked to fill out some additional paperwork.
Then comes the part which most people find the hardest. If you are filing for divorce on your own, then you will need to arrange for your spouse to be “served.” You can either get a family member to do this (an adult- it is not permissible for a child to hand over divorce papers), or else there are professional servers you can hire for this purpose. However, it’s important to remember that you cannot serve your spouse yourself.
No, it is not a legal requirement that you hire an attorney in order to proceed with a divorce. However, it is usually recommended that you hire one simply because of the level of professional experience they will be able to bring to bear on your behalf. If you are representing yourself, it is all to easy to become lost in the maze of legal technicalities, or else to remain too emotionally attached to the circumstances to guarantee a fair hearing.
Having said that, if you and your partner are separating on good terms it is certainly possible (not to mention cheaper) for you to go about the process without an attorney. But you will need to make sure you have fully read up on all the legal procedures to ensure you are not caught out further down the line. Obtaining a divorce does not need to be a combative process, but it is also important to see that your own interests are justly served.
To help you make your decision from the vast number of divorce lawyers out there, here are a few key factors to query before you sign on the dotted line:
The current cost of filing a divorce in Colorado is $230, so that is the bare minimum that you can expect to spend. Naturally, any additional petitions have their own separate fees. And when it comes to attorney charges, you can normally expect an hourly rate, so it’s important to read around and make sure your budget is sufficient before taking the plunge.
Basically, it all depends on how amicable the divorce proceedings are likely to be. If you and your partner are separating on good terms, then the process can be dealt with quickly and without massive expense. However, even the slightest hitch in the process is likely to send your legal costs through the roof.
This depends on the amicability or acrimony inherent in the proceedings. If you can reach an agreement with your partner, then you will be able to draw up your own parenting schedule. However, if this cannot be agreed upon, then it will be in the hands of the courts.
When determining visitation rights, the courts will take into account all manner of issues such as mental and physical health of those concerned, practical elements such as physical distance and alleviating disruption to the child’s schooling.
There is no legislation in Colorado regarding automatic custody rights; it will always be determined on a case by case basis. The focal concern of any divorce court is always going to be on the best interests of the child.
Other elements taken into account will be the wishes of the parents (if both parties can reach an agreement independently of the courts, then that will usually take precedence) and indeed the wishes of the child- provided he or she is of sufficient maturity to provide a reasoned preference.
If an agreement cannot be reached, then it will be down to the court to determine whether to award joint parental responsibility, or to award primary responsibility to one parent.
As the name suggests, it’s when a child support order is modified. Both parents can request a modification to child support in the state of Colorado. A parent can request a modification of child support when they experience a substantial change that is expected to be ongoing, but the change must either decrease or increase the child support order’s amount by 10 percent at the very least.
If you want to modify your child support order, then you have to file a motion to modify it. The document then has to be filed with the court that has jurisdiction over the child support order. Not only that, but both parents have to file a financial statement that includes income, assets and debts. After the required documents have been filed, the court will look over them before making a decision to either grant or not grant the modification.
There are several reasons for modifying a child support order in Colorado, such as there has been a significant change in income, and that change in income is expected to be ongoing. Another reason is that there is no dental or medical coverage included in the order, and now the parent receiving support wants that to be included. Another reason is the child is now spending a considerable amount of time at the other parent’s home. These are only a few reasons why you could try to modify your child support order.
Yes, in those circumstances it is definitely recommended that you hire a divorce lawyer of your own. This indicates that your spouse is looking to contest elements of the divorce settlement.
If you go ahead with the divorce procedures without a lawyer, then you are leaving yourself open to being taken advantage of. Even if the separation is taking place on good terms, your spouse’s lawyer is an unknown quantity and it is important to ensure you have someone looking out for your own interests.
As mentioned above, a divorce lawyer will be able to bring a level of professionalism and emotional detachment that you do not possess.