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How to get a divorce in Colorado

There are various ways to get a divorce, but not all of them need to be difficult.

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Colorado quick facts about divorce

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

Navigating a divorce can be a complicated and expensive process. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce, for example, you may be able to complete the process online.

Here’s what you need to know to get started in Colorado: the requirements, the costs and paths you can take to complete your divorce.

Can I get a divorce in Colorado?

To get a divorce in Colorado, you or your spouse must have:

  • Lived in Colorado for at least 91 days.

If you meet the residency requirement, you or your spouse can initiate 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.

In Colorado, you don’t need to prove any wrongdoing on your spouse’s part to get a divorce — in other words, you can pursue a no-fault divorce. Irreconcilable differences is a common reason given for divorce, and you can get a divorce even without your spouse agreeing to it.

If one party believes that the marriage can be fixed, the court may take measures to try to reconcile the marriage.

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

Whether you need to go to court depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. Before you and your spouse can be divorced, you both need to reach an agreement on the divorce terms.

Contested divorce

If you don’t agree on the terms, your divorce is contested. In this case, the issues you and your spouse disagree on may need to be settled by a court.

Even if you and your spouse disagree on some issues, you don’t necessarily need to go to court. Here are a few alternative paths:

  • Mediation: Someone impartial helps you and your spouse come to an agreement.
  • Collaborative divorce: You and your spouse negotiate an agreement through lawyers trained in collaborative law.

You can find more information about mediation and collaborative divorce at the Colorado Courts website.

Uncontested divorce

If you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce — meaning you have an uncontested divorce — you don’t have to appear in court. It’s possible to complete your divorce by drafting an agreement and filling out the appropriate forms, then sending them to the court.

There are various ways to complete an uncontested divorce, including:

  • Doing it yourself. Handling the divorce process yourself can be complicated, but it’s possible. Learn more about the process at the Colorado Courts website.
  • Using an online divorce service. Online services like Wevorce and MyDivorcePapers offer self-guided divorce preparation. They can cost more than preparing your divorce entirely on your own, but they streamline the process by giving you structure and guidance.
  • Hiring lawyers. Family law lawyers can prepare your divorce and provide personalized guidance throughout the process. As we’ll discuss in the next section, this will likely be your most expensive option.

Compare online divorce services

Online divorce services are best for couples who can agree on the terms of the divorce, including division of assets, alimony and parental responsibilities if you have children.

Name Product Cost Includes filing papers with court? File without spouse Divorce papers reviewed?
3StepDivorce
$299 - $336
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
Yes
File within one business day of your start date with 3StepDivorce and qualify for a $50 cash rebate. Payment plans available.
LegalZoom online divorce
$150 – $1,500
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
Yes
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
Yes
Ready-to-file divorce forms for one flat fee. Step-by-step directions to help simplify uncontested divorces.
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How much will it cost?

It will cost you $230 to file your divorce petition with the court. You may pay additional court fees, depending on your county.

Additional costs for your divorce will vary depending on which route you take to resolve it. Here are approximate costs for various paths.

Doing it yourself

Preparing your divorce yourself will cost little to nothing besides additional court fees you may need to pay. However, the process takes more time, because you will need to conduct your own research and ensure you have filled out the divorce forms correctly.

Using online divorce services

Depending on the online divorce service you use and how much assistance you need, you could expect to pay anywhere between $150 to $1,500. However, some high-end services can run you upwards of $3,000.

Costs vary depending on the benefits offered. For example, some services only help you prepare the right forms; others provide tutorials, professional review of your documents and spousal-support plans.

Hiring lawyers

According to a study by Martindale Nolo Research, the average cost for a divorce in Colorado is $14,500 when hiring divorce attorneys.

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

Typically, lawyers will bill you hourly — $270 per hour on average. If you choose to hire divorce lawyers, consider negotiating a flat fee for your divorce.

How long will it take?

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 in the divorce and how much 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.

If you and your spouse agree on most issues, the details of your divorce could be settled relatively quickly. For example, an online service for uncontested divorces can help a couple come to a resolution in as little as a month. (By law, however, it takes 91 days before the marriage is legally ended.)

How do I prepare for filing online?

Online divorce services are for couples who can work together on divorce terms and who agree on most issues. To use one, you need to:

  • Know where your spouse is.
  • Agree with your spouse on division of the assets and property, as well as child-related matters.

Once you purchase a plan with your online divorce service, you will be given the relevant divorce forms for your county.

How to get a divorce online

Online divorce services like Wevorce and MyDivorcePapers make it easy to quickly get the divorce process rolling.

While the signup process may vary by service, in general you’ll:

  1. Go to the online divorce service website.
  2. Enter your name and contact information.
  3. Specify where you’re filing and whether you have children.
  4. Indicate your spouse’s information and whether you know their whereabouts.
  5. Enter a payment method and confirm to start the process.

Getting a divorce online — now what?

If you’ve signed up for an online divorce service, you will be presented with the divorce forms you need to complete. You will also be given instructions on how to file the documents with your local court.

Rest assured that your online divorce service will guide you from the beginning to the end of the process, when you can move on to healing.

Compare legal services

Professional legal guidance can help alleviate some of the stress when navigating the divorce process.

Name Product Pros Cons
Rocket Lawyer
  • Instant access to a library of user friendly legal documents
  • Fast access to a network of certified lawyers
  • Free 30-minute consultations
  • Reduced rates in select services
  • Services can get expensive
Rocket Lawyer gives you access to legal documents, legal advice and representation seamlessly — plus, they offer a seven-day free trial.
LegalShield
  • Coverage for you, your spouse, partner and dependent children
  • Legal advice and representation
  • Letters and phone calls on your behalf
  • Legal document review
  • Add ons can get expensive
LegalShield aims to make comprehensive legal coverage simple.
Nolo
  • Legal information all in one place
  • Free searches for attorneys
  • Software and documents to streamline legal operations
  • Advice for do-it-yourself legal work
  • It may be difficult to know where to start
Legal forms and online documents, books, & software.
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