Requirements for a Divorce in Colorado 2023

Requirements for a Divorce in Colorado 2023

If you are facing a divorce, you are facing a difficult legal procedure that is wrapped up in emotional upheaval. And if you have no idea where to begin, you are not alone. While one of the most important early steps you can take when it comes to divorce is seeking the professional legal counsel of an experienced Colorado divorce attorney, a better understanding of the requirements for a Colorado divorce can help.

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Grounds for Divorce in Colorado

Colorado has no-fault divorce laws. This means that every divorce in the state is based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that neither spouse’s wrongdoing will be factored in. This does not mean, however, that wrongdoing won’t have any effect on the terms of your Colorado divorce.

For example, if your spouse’s affair ends up dissipating marital funds, it can directly affect how the court divides your marital assets between you. Additionally, wrongdoing could conceivably affect your child custody arrangements. The court bases its child custody determinations on the best interests of the children involved, and your spouse’s wrongdoing – for example – can affect this balance.

Residency Requirements for a Divorce in Colorado

In Colorado, there are specific residency requirements that apply before you can pursue a divorce in the state. These include:

  1. Either you or your divorcing spouse must have lived in the state for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce.
  2. If your divorce involves shared children, they must have lived with at least one of you for at least 182 days (six months) in Colorado prior to filing.
  3. If one of the children involved is not yet six months old, he or she must have lived in the state with at least one of you since birth.

While a marital settlement agreement can expedite the divorce process, these residency requirements hold when children are involved.

The Terms of Your Divorce in Colorado

Before you can obtain a divorce in the State of Colorado, you will need to address each of the terms of divorce that apply in your situation. These include all the following:

  1. Your child custody arrangements
  2. Child support
  3. The division of your marital property
  4. Alimony

If you and your divorcing spouse are able to resolve these terms between yourselves – with the guidance of your respective Colorado divorce attorneys – you will not require the court’s intervention. If any terms remain unresolved, however, your divorce case will need to proceed to court before it can be finalized.

Your Child Custody Arrangements

The State of Colorado addresses child custody in terms of parental responsibilities (physical custody) and parental decision-making responsibilities (legal custody).

Parental Responsibilities

Parental responsibilities determine the schedule by which you and your children’s other parent will divide your time with your shared children. Colorado courts base every parenting decision on the best interests of the children involved, and this generally means maximizing – to the extent possible – the amount of time they spend with both parents. When, however, one parent has fewer than 90 overnights with the children per year, the other parent is identified as having primary parental responsibility.

Parental Decision-Making Responsibilities

Parental decision-making responsibilities determine if you and your children’s other parent will make primary parenting decisions together or if one of you will shoulder the responsibility on your own. The kinds of decisions involved include:

  • Decisions related to your kids’ healthcare
  • Decisions related to your kids’ education
  • Decisions related to your kids’ religious education
  • Decisions related to your kids’ extracurricular activities and travel
  • Decisions related to where your kids live

Child Support

Both parents are required to support their children financially in the State of Colorado. This child support obligation continues until each child reaches the age of 18 (or 19 if he or she is still in high school). The state has a child support calculation methodology in place, but the primary factors include the number of overnights each parent has with the kids and the amount of income each parent earns.

The Division of Marital Property

Those assets you own prior to marriage are your separate property, and if you maintain their separate nature throughout the years of your marriage, they will remain so. Those assets, however, that you, your spouse, or you and your spouse acquired while you are married are considered marital property, and – upon divorce – they must be distributed between both of you in a manner that is considered fair (given the relevant circumstances). Some of the factors that the court takes into consideration in the division of marital assets include the following:

  • You and your divorcing spouse’s separate contributions to the acquisition of your marital assets
  • The separate economic circumstances that each of you will experience post-divorce
  • The overall value of the marital assets each of you will receive and the tax implications for each of you


If divorce leaves one of you financially incapable of supporting yourself – and the other has the financial ability to help – alimony may be awarded. Alimony is usually based on one of the following factors:

  1. The recipient doesn’t have the education, experience, or job skills to earn an adequate living.
  2. The recipient has a young child or children to care for, and daycare costs outpace his or her earning capacity.

Generally, alimony is awarded only for the amount of time the recipient needs to become more financially independent (in terms of his or her unique situation). The following can all affect the length and duration of alimony:

  • The recipient’s age, overall health, and financial resources
  • The length of the marriage
  • The recipient’s earning potential and the payor’s ability to pay
  • The standard of living the couple enjoyed during their marriage

An Experienced Colorado Divorce Attorney Is in Your Corner

Chris Little at CNL Law Firm, PLLC, in Aurora, Colorado, is a formidable divorce attorney who is well-prepared to skillfully advocate for favorable divorce terms that uphold your parental and financial rights – and that work for you. We are on your side and will help you meet the requirements of divorce, so please don’t wait to contact us today.

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