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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Couples with an uncontested divorce looking to un-hitch can use an online divorce service.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Do both my spouse and I need to live in Colorado to get a divorce?
No. As long as one of you has lived in Colorado for at least 91 days, you meet the residency requirement to get divorced. You may need to wait a bit longer if you have children.
Can I still get a divorce if my spouse doesn’t want to get one?
Yes. Your spouse cannot stop you from getting a divorce. If your spouse chooses not to work with you on the divorce, you will receive a default judgment — basically, the divorce will be completed along the terms you set.
Can I still get a divorce if I can’t locate my spouse?
Yes. However, you first need to make an exhaustive good-faith effort to locate your spouse. For example, you might check telephone listings, use private investigators or look through property records.
If you still can’t find your spouse, and if a judge rules that you have searched as much as you were able, you can initiate service by publication. This means you publish a divorce summons in a newspaper for five consecutive weeks. If your spouse doesn’t respond within 35 days, you can go ahead with the divorce without your spouse’s participation.
Do my spouse and I need to live in the same county to get a divorce?
No. Only one party needs to have lived in the state for at least 91 days before filing for divorce.
An online DIY service that charges a flat rate to generate your divorce paperwork — but watch out for the automatic membership fee.
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