Navigating the Divorce Laws in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Divorce is never a fun topic, and navigating all of the legal aspects of ending a marriage in Colorado Springs, Colorado, can be stressful on top of everything else going on. Today on our blog, Liberty Law Center would like to address common legal questions surrounding divorce that come up when you’re thinking about separating and ending your marriage.

What is The Residency Requirement?

Just because you’re in Colorado doesn’t mean you can get divorced here. There are a few stipulations. One of the spouses must have been a resident of Colorado for at least 91 days prior to filing the petition, and if the case concerns a minor child, the child must have resided in Colorado for at least 182 days.

What if One Spouse is No Longer a Resident of Colorado?

The Court must have personal jurisdiction over both parties in order to divide property, allocate debt, order maintenance and enter orders regarding children for parental responsibility, parenting time and support.  If the other spouse no longer resides in Colorado, the Court can obtain personal jurisdiction if the non-resident spouse files as a co-Petitioner, waives service, is served in Colorado or had maintained a matrimonial domicile in Colorado.  If the other spouse’s whereabouts are unknown and can’t be served,  service can be accomplished by publication.  There must be a showing of diligent efforts to serve the other party before the Court will approve publication.  In this case, the Court may only grant a decree of divorce and any other issues will be reserved until personal service can be accomplished.

What Are The Grounds for Divorce?

Colorado is called a “no fault” state, which means that you don’t have to explain to the court the reason behind your divorce, only that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”.   In the past, if a spouse wanted a divorce, he or she had to prove that the other spouse had a reason for divorce—such as adultery, abandonment, or dangerous behavior. . This “no fault” approach to divorce matters is considered to lead to more fair and reasonable outcomes for each spouse.

What About Property Division?

If a couple can agree on how to divide their property, they can confirm their agreements in a written document called a “separation agreement.” If spouses can’t agree, a judge will decide how to divide their property at a permanent or final orders hearing.Another aspect to Colorado being a “no fault” state is that the court will divide all property in what is called equitable distribution without regard to marital misconduct. This means that even if one spouse has committed a serious offense like domestic violence, the court will not use financial orders to compensate for wrongs that occurred during the marriage.

The Colorado court will distribute the shared assets of a couple in a manner that considers all relevant factors, including the contribution of each spouse to the marital property, the economic circumstances of each spouse, and if children are involved. If there is property in another state, then a Colorado court doesn’t have the right to get involved unless both spouses give personal jurisdiction to Colorado.

What About Alimony?

Maintenance or alimony is another issue to consider. Maintenance may be awarded if the Court finds that a spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs and is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition makes it inappropriate for the spouse to seek employment out of the home.  Maintenance may be awarded on a temporary basis until the final orders hearing.  A court can also order long-term alimony awards if the lower-earning or unemployed spouse can prove that they need it (for example, if they don’t have the job skills or are caring for very young children).  Many considerations go into a decision on alimony, including the supported spouse’s age, health, financial resources, ability to earn and income capacity, and the ability for the paying spouse.  A judge may utilize a statutory formula for determining the amount of maintenance that looks at the income of the parties and the length of the marriage.