Colorado Uncontested Divorce
A divorce is usually a tough time for all parties involved. This is a very turbulent time with all sorts of emotions flaring around. And what if you can’t afford a lawyer? Or, what if you don’t want to pay a lawyer thousands of dollars for something you can do yourself? This article is meant for people who want to file for an uncontested divorce or learn how to do it themselves in Colorado.
Here are a few easy steps and procedures that must be completed to file an uncontested divorce in the state of Colorado. To follow along visually Download our Colorado Divorce Flowchart HERE.
Prepare and File Initial Petition
The county court will require you to start by filing the Case Information Sheet (JDF 1000) and the Petition for Divorce (JDF 1101). The Petition for Divorce must be signed either by both spouses if filing together or by the spouse filing for divorce.
If you named your spouse as the Respondent on the Petition and your spouse did not sign the Petition for Divorce, you will have to complete the Summons for Divorce (JDF 1102). The Summons is a formal notice of the Petition that gets served to the other spouse with 21 days to respond.
Once the Summons is served, an automatic temporary injunction will be in effect. The temporary injunction will be in effect until the divorce is granted. The purpose of the injunction is to prevent the transfer of property, discontinuation of insurance coverage, or fleeing with your kids, without the consent of the other spouse.
The Petition contains the date of marriage, date when the parties separated, identifies the children involved, identifies any cases in which you or children were involved, and other protective orders you might request. For the filing of the documents, you’ll need to pay an initial court filing fee of $230.00. If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you must complete the Motion to File Without Payment (JDF 205) and submit it to the Court.
Upon acceptance of the Petition, your case will be assigned a case number that will be used to file all your future case documents. The Court may provide you with other information about the procedures to be followed. Please review that information carefully.
Serve Your Spouse
Once you have filed your Petition, the Court will provide you with a signed summons to serve your spouse. It is important that you have your spouse served as quickly as possible as there is a mandatory 91-day waiting period before the court can grant you a divorce. This period will not start until your spouse is officially served with the Petition and Summons. Your divorce may take longer than 91 days, depending on the circumstances of your case.
You can serve your spouse by waiver and acceptance of service or by personal service. The waiver and acceptance of service is the easiest form of service. Your spouse must be willing to accept the divorce papers and sign Waiver and
Acceptance of Service (JDF 1102(a)). You will have to file the signed original waiver with the Court.
With the personal service, you will need someone a process server over the age of 18 who is not involved in the case, and who knows the rules of service to serve your spouse. The process server will need to give you a completed Return of Service form (JDF 1102(b)) and you will have to file it with the Court.
Serving your spouse is what jump-starts the divorce process and allows the court to make decisions regarding your case. You will have to file the corresponding form to show that you served your spouse. Remember that the 91-day period to get a divorce begins on the date your spouse is served.
Spouse files a Response
Your spouse may file a response to the Petition (JDF 1103). The purpose of the response is for the spouse to state in writing if he/she agrees or disagrees with the information in the Petition. The filing fee of the response is $116.00.
Complete and Exchange Financial Information
Under Colorado law, both parties are required to exchange their respective financial information. You must provide true and complete information to the Court about your assets, debts, and income in the Financial Statement (JDF 1111 & JDF 111S). Failure of a spouse to file the Financial Information may result in a refusal by the court to grant the divorce or the court may impose sanctions against the spouse who does not file the required paperwork.
Hello Divorce has created this free worksheet to help you and your ex divide your property and debt when you file an uncontested divorce in Colorado.
Fill Out Additional Forms
Under Colorado law, you will need to complete additional forms before your divorce. The forms that you may need to finalize your case are identified here (View a complete list of Colorado divorce forms, with links.) These forms will provide valuable information to the Court upon which to order allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, division of property and debts, and spousal support (if applicable).
Sign a Separation Agreement
The purpose of a Separation Agreement (JDF 1115) this form is to identify in writing what issues you and the other party have settled on regarding maintenance (spousal support) for either party and for your properties and debt. The Court must follow the separation unless the Court finds the agreement is not reasonable, in which case it may order the parties to submit a revised agreement
Each party should agree with the content of this form to ensure that it accurately represents what you and your spouse have agreed to. If you have a complete Separation Agreement (i.e. all of the issues are resolved and in agreement) it will allow the divorce to proceed. In some cases, this will help to continue the process without the parties needing to appear before a court of law. You may want to check with the court to determine if you or your spouse are required to appear in front of the Court.
The Judge will grant your divorce by entering a Decree as to the division of property, debts, parenting time, child support, and maintenance if any. You and your spouse will receive a copy of the final Decree.
Those are the basic steps you need to follow for how to file an uncontested divorce in the state of Colorado. Divorce is a multi-billion dollar industry that too often pits one spouse against another in an endless cycle of the blame game. But one doesn’t just wake up one morning and decide to end the marriage. It’s usually a decision made after a long period of heavy thought and consideration.
Filing for divorce is the judicial equivalent to filing a lawsuit. It won’t be straightforward. You will need to have the temperament and time to do your research, compile documentation, and follow through on appearances and court filings. At the same time, you’ll need to find ways to care for your emotional and physical health.
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