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When you decide to begin the divorce process, you likely want your marriage to be over as soon as possible so you can move forward with your post-marriage life. However, you must go through each step of the divorce process and wait for the required waiting period before the court will issue the final divorce decree. You are still legally married until this decree is issued, which means you cannot marry anyone else in this time frame. 

For information about how long it might take for your divorce to be final in your situation, as well as help make the process go as quickly and smoothly as possible, speak with an Aurora divorce attorney right away. 

How Your Divorce Can be Resolved

Before the court will finalize your divorce, you and your spouse will need to address several issues, including:

  • Property division
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody and support

There are different ways to resolve these matters so your divorce can be final. The quickest and easiest way to get a divorce is to file an uncontested divorce. This means that you and your spouse have written agreements for how to settle all relevant issues in your case, including property division and child-related matters. You might reach this agreement:

  • On your own
  • Through negotiations by your respective attorneys
  • Through mediation sessions
  • Through the collaborative divorce process

If you have out-of-court agreements on everything, your attorney can file an uncontested divorce petition. If the court approves of your resolution, it can base the divorce decree on your written agreements and issue the divorce decree following the 90-day waiting period required by state law.

If you cannot agree on one or more issues, your case will need to go to court for the judge to resolve any loose ends. You might agree on child custody and property division, but you are unable to agree on spousal support. This means the issue of spousal support will need to be presented to the family judge. The judge will hear arguments from both sides and issue a decision on the unresolved matters.

Anytime you need to go to court, it extends the time before your divorce is final. Trial requires preparation, and you must wait for the scheduled hearing date, which could be months in the future depending on the court schedule. The best way to speed up the divorce process and obtain a final divorce sooner is to allow an attorney to help you reach out-of-court agreements with your spouse.

If Your Spouse’s Location Is Unknown

If you don’t know where your spouse is, this can add some extra time to getting your final divorce decree. This is not an uncommon problem, so don’t worry. You have two options: you can try to find your spouse via the police or a private investigator, or you can publish a notice in the newspaper. The second option is actually fairly easy—it just requires a waiting period that can add to your divorce timeframe. If you choose to serve your spouse notice of the divorce by newspaper publication, it is important to note that the judge can not enter any court orders for child support, alimony, or make any decisions about awarding debts or property outside Colorado.

You can get divorced, and, at the end of the day, in a situation like this, that is no doubt your primary goal. A Colorado judge can also award your full custody of your children when you have a missing parent/spouse, which is comforting and can reduce your stress.

Is Your Divorce Final After Have Attended Mediation?

Mediation is a kind of “ADR” or alternative dispute resolution. The mediation process involves having an objective, uninvolved professional assist you and the other party in coming to an agreement without involving a judge. Going to a mediator is completely voluntary, and the end result, if you reach one, is not “legal” or “official” (like a signed contract is) in any way.

Mediation offers a variety of benefits for divorcing couples if they can not agree on asset division, child custody, alimony, or child support:

  • Mediation is quicker. Resolving divorce-related issues in front of a judge can take 10 times longer than using mediation services.
  • Mediation is anonymous. This means whatever you and your spouse discuss with the mediator is totally confidential (i.e., the court or judge will not know the details of the process). Additionally, reporters can get access to court filings and dockets and show up to your hearings. Mediation details are not accessible to the public like that.
  • Mediation is more affordable than battling it out in court with a judge.
  • Mediation is much more casual than court. Most people find the relaxed atmosphere of a mediation session to be a lot more conducive to positive negotiations.

While your lawyer might not be able to attend mediation sessions with you, they can provide valuable advice on whether or not you should agree to certain terms. Always have representation, even if you are participating in mediation.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on one or more terms – even after mediation – the matter might need to go before the court. Your divorce lawyer will prepare to litigate the contested issues, presenting your arguments and supporting evidence to the judge.

Litigation is costlier, more time-consuming, and more stressful than resolving matters out of court, but for some divorcing spouses, it is a necessary step toward getting the divorce finalized.

Your Final Hearing and Divorce Decree

Your divorce will likely wrap up with a final hearing before the judge, which might be the only hearing you need to attend for an uncontested divorce. If the judge approves your agreements and dissolution, they will issue your divorce decree. This is the signal that your divorce is over. You can then change your name (if applicable) and have the right to remarry if you choose.

Consult with an Aurora Divorce Attorney Today

At CNL Law Firm, PLLC, we assist with every step of the divorce process, from the initial negotiations until the final decree. Contact us to discuss your options for your situation.

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