Turning Change Into Opportunity
Sometimes parties who are married decide to part ways. This can be a very emotional time. In Colorado, divorce is called "dissolution of marriage." Colorado is a “no fault” state which allows couples to dissolve their marriage without being required to state or establish specific grounds to do so. Because of the no-fault aspect, fault grounds are not relevant for property distribution matters.
The legal standard for filing is Colorado residency of a party for at least 91 days, and that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Parties can agree that their marriage is “irretrievably broken,” however if they disagree then the Court has to make the determination. One party may file for dissolution or both parties may file together. The initial petition includes the following information:
- A statement that the marriage is irretrievably broken
- The residence of each party
- The length of time that each party was a resident of the state of Colorado
- The date and place of the marriage
- If applicable, the separation date
- Children of the marriage
- Any separation agreements or parenting plans
- A statement about what the party is asking the court to order
- An acknowledgement that the party has read and understands the terms of the automatic temporary injunctions
As with all family law matters, parties can either reach agreement themselves through negotiation or mediation, or the matter becomes contested and the Court decides the resolution for the parties. There are many matters to decide in a dissolution such as:
- Child and/or spousal support
- Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (AKA Custody and Visitation)
- Identification of marital and separate property
- Asset and debt division
Matters involving Allocation of Parental Responsibilities are set forth in a Parenting Plan. Matters involving spousal support and division of assets and debts are set forth in a Separation Agreement. If parties agree on these matters and can submit these documents to the Court, the Court can issue the provisions as a court order as long as they are not unconscionable. If the parties can not agree, then the Court decides these issues in a contested proceeding.Automatic Temporary Injunction
When a party files for dissolution, the filing triggers a temporary injunction for the filer that prevents dissipation of marital assets. The injunction is effective as to the opposing party upon service or waiver of service, or if the parties filed jointly. However, the parties may use income and assets as they customarily would for necessary living expenses. The injunction also requires insurance policies to remain in place, and prevents removal of children from the state without the other party’s consent or a court order.
There are many things to consider when dissolving a marriage such as identification of separate and marital property, and property and debt division. Parties often own marital property together such as homes, vehicles, investments, and household goods and these will need to be divided upon dissolution. Parties often also have debt which needs to be divided as well. Colorado is an “equitable distribution” state which does not necessarily mean equal distribution or division.
If you are interested in exploring dissolution options, discuss the pros and cons with your Colorado family law attorney. I can be contacted at 720-780-0115, or by using the online contact form.
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- Divorce Taxation
- Marriage in Colorado
- Property Division
- Spousal Maintenance (AKA Alimony)
- Trusts as a Property Interest In Dissolution
- Property Division in Dissolution
- Home Appraisal in Colorado Springs Dissolution AKA Divorce
- Debt and Student Loan Debt in Colorado Dissolution of Marriage / Divorce
- Property Ownership in Colorado Divorce