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How to get a divorce in Colorado

You or your spouse must be living in the Centennial State for at least 3 months before you can file.

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Colorado is a no-fault state, which means there’s only one ground to file for divorce — and you don’t have the option of placing blame on your spouse. Find out if you meet the residency requirement to file, and how much you can expect the process to cost based on different divorce methods available.

Requirements to get divorced in Colorado

Colorado has a state residency requirement before you can get a divorce: You or your spouse must have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days.

If you pass the residency test, you can take the first step of the divorce process by filing a divorce petition. But if there are children involved, they must have lived in the state for at least 182 days before the court can enter any custody orders.

What are the grounds for divorce in Colorado?

There’s only one ground for divorce in Colorado: The marriage is irretrievably broken.

Since Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, you don’t need to prove your spouse did anything wrong to get a divorce. But if your spouse believes that the marriage can be fixed, the court may delay your divorce and try to reconcile the marriage first.

Quick facts about divorce in Colorado

  • Equitable distribution state
  • Divorce filings are public record
  • Takes a minimum of 91 days from filing to finalize your divorce and have the decree issued

Average cost of divorce in Colorado

It will cost you around $230 to file your divorce petition with the court in Colorado. And your spouse will pay about $116 to respond to your divorce petition. You’ll also need to budget for additional costs, which vary depending on the route you take to file for divorce, as well as photocopies, notary and mailing expenses.

Using online divorce services

An online divorce service costs anywhere from $150 to $1,500, depending on the provider you go with. It combines the do-it-yourself approach with a bit of guidance by gathering and filling out all of the legal forms for you. Some higher-end services offer more features and support, including professional document review and filing your divorce papers on your behalf, which can run you upwards of $6,000.

Hiring lawyers

The average cost for a divorce in Colorado ranges from $9,700 to $11,800 when hiring divorce attorneys, according to a study by Martindale Nolo Research.

If your divorce is relatively simple, the cost will be around a few thousand dollars at a minimum. For complicated divorces — for example, those that are contested or involve child custody — the cost could be as high as $32,000.

Typically, lawyers will bill you hourly — with the average cost in Colorado ranging from $230 to $280 per hour. If you choose to hire divorce lawyers, consider negotiating a flat fee for your divorce, which can help keep the cost down.

Doing it yourself

If you choose to go it alone, you’ll just pay the divorce court fees, which start at $230. However, the process is a bit more time intensive because you’ll need to dig into your state’s divorce process and fill out the required legal forms on your own.

A few other additional costs you might incur on top of the state filing fee include:

  • Petition for a name change: $88
  • Motion to change a divorce decree: $105
  • Certifying a copy of your divorce decree: $20
  • Making a copy of any court document: $0.75 per page

What if I can’t afford the filing fee for a divorce in Colorado?

If your budget can’t spare the filing fee for divorce, you can request a fee waiver by completing the Motion to File Informa Pauperis and the Finding and Order Concerning Payment of Fees forms. You’ll need to produce copies of your bank statements, pay stubs, government benefits and expenses to show that the cost would be a financial hardship.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Colorado?

By law, it will take at least 91 days before a divorce is finalized. The clock starts when you file your petition with the court.

A divorce may take longer than 91 days, depending on the complexity of issues involved and how quickly you and your spouse can agree on the terms.

Issues that could lengthen the divorce process include:

  • Division of property
  • Custody of children
  • Child support
  • Visitation rights
  • Alimony

According to a study by Martindale Nolo Research, the average divorce takes 12 months to complete with divorce attorneys. But if a judge thinks there’s a reasonable chance to save the marriage, the court may delay your hearing and order marriage counseling for 35 to 63 days.

You can fast-track the divorce process if you and your spouse can agree to the terms of the divorce. For example, an online divorce service can help you settle the details of the divorce in as little as a month. And you’ll just run the clock until the law says that your marriage has legally ended after 91 days.

On the other hand, you’ll drag out the process and costs if you and your spouse can’t agree to a settlement.

Can I get a divorce in Colorado without going to court?

Yes, it’s possible to keep your divorce out of the courtroom. If your divorce is uncontested — where you and your spouse can settle the details of your divorce — you can use an online divorce service, do it yourself or hire attorneys to fill out and file your divorce papers.

Having a difficult time agreeing on the divorce terms? Consider a collaborative divorce — where lawyers negotiate on your behalf — mediation or arbitration before electing to have a court trial.

In most cases, going to court is the last resort for contested divorces.

Compare online divorce services

Couples with an uncontested divorce looking to un-hitch can use an online divorce service.

Name Product Cost Includes filing papers with court? File without spouse Legal assistance available Customer service
3 Step Divorce
$299 - $336
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
No
Phone, Email
File within one business day of your start date with 3StepDivorce and qualify for a $50 cash rebate. Payment plans available.
LegalZoom online divorce
$499
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
Yes
Phone, Email, Live chat
File for an uncontested divorce online or find legal resources to help guide you through the divorce process.
OnlineDivorce.com
$139
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
No
Phone, Email
Ready-to-file divorce forms for one flat fee. Step-by-step directions to help simplify uncontested divorces.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How to get a divorce online in Colorado

Online divorce services can help fast-track the divorce process if you have an uncontested divorce, but you’ll need to meet the state residency requirement first.

If you qualify, you’ll answer questions about your situation, including how you’ll divide your assets and debts, child custody and alimony. The divorce service will generate your legal forms based on your responses. Once you sign the papers, you can then take the documents to your county clerk to file for divorce.

Some companies offer extra perks, such as serving your spouse the divorce papers or filing your divorce packet for you. Compare online divorce services to find one that fits your needs and budget.

Bottom line

You must be a Colorado resident for at least 91 days before you can file for divorce. For uncontested cases, using an online divorce service or filling out the papers yourself are the two cheapest options. But if you’re struggling to come to an agreement, you can opt for a collaborative divorce, mediation or arbitration to avoid going to court.

Learn more about the uncoupling process with our step-by-step guide to divorce.

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