Divorce Law: Grounds for Divorce in Colorado
|Grounds for Divorce||Description||Reference|
|Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage||The marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.||C.R.S. § 14-10-106(1)(a)|
|Adultery||One of the parties has committed adultery during the marriage.||C.R.S. § 14-10-106(1)(b)|
|Cruelty||One of the parties has treated the other with such cruelty as to render the marriage intolerable.||C.R.S. § 14-10-106(1)(c)|
|Abandonment||One of the parties has abandoned the other for a period of one year or more without the other’s consent.||C.R.S. § 14-10-106(1)(d)|
|Bigamy||One of the parties was still legally married to another person at the time of the marriage.||C.R.S. § 14-10-106(1)(e)|
|Imprisonment||One of the parties has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of one year or more.||C.R.S. § 14-10-106(1)(f)|
|Domestic violence||One of the parties has committed domestic violence, and the other party reasonably fears for his or her safety or the safety of their children.||C.R.S. § 14-10-106(1)(g)|
Overview of Divorce Law in Colorado
- No-Fault Grounds: In Colorado, a couple can seek a no-fault divorce based on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This means that neither spouse has to prove any wrongdoing or fault in order to obtain a divorce. They only need to show that their marriage cannot be saved.
- Fault-Based Grounds: In addition to no-fault grounds, Colorado also recognizes several fault-based grounds for divorce. These include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, and conviction of a felony.
It’s important to note that even if one spouse is at fault for causing the breakdown of the marriage, this may not necessarily impact issues such as property division or spousal support. Under Colorado law, these issues are decided based on factors such as each spouse’s financial resources and contributions during the marriage.
Definition of Divorce
It’s important to note that divorce can be emotionally challenging for both spouses and any children involved. It’s recommended that individuals seek emotional support from friends, family members or professional counselors during this difficult time. Additionally, consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
Overview of Grounds for Divorce
It’s worth noting that while fault-based divorces may provide some sense of vindication, they can also be more difficult and expensive to pursue. Additionally, even if one spouse is at fault for causing the breakdown of the marriage, this may not necessarily impact issues such as property division or spousal support which are decided based on other factors under Colorado law.
Importance of Grounds for Divorce
- If one spouse is seeking sole custody of children, fault-based grounds such as abandonment or cruelty may impact the court’s decision.
- If one spouse has committed adultery and spent marital funds on their affair, this may be considered when dividing property and assets.
It’s also worth noting that establishing fault in a divorce can sometimes make it easier to negotiate certain aspects of the divorce settlement. For example, if one spouse has admitted to adultery or domestic violence, this could provide leverage in negotiations regarding asset division or spousal support.
No-fault divorce is a type of divorce where neither spouse has to prove that the other is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. In Colorado, a couple can seek a no-fault divorce based on irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. This means that they only need to show that their relationship has broken down beyond repair and cannot be saved.
- No Fault Divorce Pros: No-fault divorces tend to be less contentious and more amicable than fault-based ones since they do not require either party to accuse or blame the other for causing the end of their marriage. They are also often quicker and cheaper to obtain.
- No Fault Divorce Cons: One disadvantage of no-fault divorces is that there may be less incentive for couples to work through their issues and try to save their marriage if neither one feels like they are at fault. Additionally, some people may feel like this type of divorce diminishes personal responsibility by allowing spouses who have contributed little or nothing towards ending the relationship an equal say in how assets will be divided.
Explanation of No-Fault Divorce
One of the benefits of no-fault divorce is that it can be less contentious and more amicable than fault-based divorces. It may also be less expensive and time-consuming since there is no need for one party to prove fault or wrongdoing on the part of the other party.
Requirements for No-Fault Divorce
If these requirements are met, then the court can grant a decree of dissolution (divorce). It’s important to note that even in a no-fault divorce where both spouses agree on all issues, consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process and all necessary paperwork is filed correctly.
Advantages of No-Fault Divorce
There are several advantages to pursuing a no-fault divorce in Colorado:
- No Need to Prove Fault: As previously mentioned, no-fault divorces do not require either spouse to prove any wrongdoing or fault. This can make the divorce process faster and less contentious.
- Less Expensive: Because there is typically less litigation involved in a no-fault divorce, it can be less expensive than a fault-based divorce.
- Maintaining Privacy: No-fault divorces may also help maintain privacy since they do not require the disclosure of sensitive information about either spouse’s behavior or actions during the marriage.
Disadvantages of No-Fault Divorce
If you’re considering filing for divorce in Colorado, it’s important to understand both your legal rights and emotional needs throughout this challenging process. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that you receive fair treatment throughout all aspects of your case.
- Adultery: When a married person engages in sexual relations with someone who is not their spouse.
- Cruelty: When a spouse engages in behavior that causes physical or emotional harm to their partner and makes it impossible for them to continue living together.
- Abandonment: When one spouse leaves the marital home without justification and refuses to return, which can make it impossible for the couple to reconcile.
If you are considering pursuing a fault-based divorce, it’s important to understand that proving these grounds can be challenging. For example, proving adultery typically requires evidence such as photographs or witness testimony. Additionally, even if you are successful in proving fault, this may not necessarily impact issues such as property division or spousal support which are decided based on other factors under Colorado law.
Explanation of Fault-Based Divorce
If you’re considering pursuing a fault-based divorce in Colorado, it’s important to understand the requirements and potential drawbacks associated with this type of action. Some key things to keep in mind include:
- Proving Fault: Unlike with no-fault divorces, spouses seeking a fault-based divorce must provide evidence to support their claims of marital misconduct. This can involve gathering documents, witness statements or other forms of proof.
- Potential Consequences: Even if one spouse is found to be at fault for causing the breakdown of the marriage, this may not necessarily impact issues such as property division or spousal support which are decided based on other factors under Colorado law.
Grounds for Fault-Based Divorce in Colorado
- Adultery: If one spouse engages in sexual relations with someone outside the marriage, this can be considered adultery and may serve as grounds for divorce.
- Cruelty: This includes physical or mental abuse or any other form of behavior that endangers the health or safety of the other spouse.
- Abandonment: If one spouse leaves without a valid reason and refuses to return, this may qualify as abandonment and provide grounds for divorce.
- Addiction: Substance abuse, gambling addiction, or any other type of addiction that causes significant harm to the marriage can be used as grounds for divorce.
If you believe your spouse has engaged in any of these behaviors, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can advise you on your rights and options under Colorado law.
Note that emotional affairs or non-sexual relationships are typically not considered adultery under Colorado law. Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that pursuing an adultery claim can be emotionally challenging and costly. It may also have an impact on issues such as child custody if one parent’s behavior is called into question.
In order to meet this requirement, several factors are considered including:
- The length of time and circumstances surrounding the separation
- Whether the abandoning spouse intended to end the marriage
- Whether they have provided support during their absence
If you believe that abandonment may be an appropriate ground for your divorce, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected.
If you are considering filing for divorce based on cruelty, it’s important to gather evidence to support your claims. This might include photographs of injuries sustained during physical altercations or statements from witnesses who have seen your spouse engage in abusive behavior.
You should also consider speaking with an experienced divorce attorney who can advise you on how best to pursue your case and help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
If all of these conditions are met, the non-imprisoned spouse may file for divorce based on imprisonment as a fault ground. It’s important to note that even if this ground is established, it may not necessarily impact issues such as property division or spousal support which are decided based on other factors under Colorado law.
If you are considering filing for divorce due to your spouse’s substance abuse or addiction, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the legal process while keeping your best interests and those of any children involved in mind. Additionally, counseling services may be beneficial both during and after the divorce proceedings.
Requirements for Fault-Based Divorce
In addition, it’s important to note that pursuing a fault-based divorce can often lead to increased conflict between spouses and may make negotiations around property division and spousal support more difficult. For this reason, many couples choose instead to pursue no-fault divorces based on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
Advantages of Fault-Based Divorce
It’s important to note that pursuing a fault-based divorce can also come with its own set of challenges. These divorces can be contentious and time-consuming, which means they may ultimately end up costing more money than a no-fault divorce would. Additionally, proving fault often requires significant evidence-gathering and legal resources.
Disadvantages of Fault-Based Divorce
There are several disadvantages to pursuing a fault-based divorce in Colorado:
- Fault-based divorces can be more difficult and expensive to pursue than no-fault divorces, as the spouse seeking the divorce must prove that their partner was at fault.
- In some cases, proving fault may not be possible or may require costly investigations and legal battles.
- If the court finds that both spouses were at fault for causing the breakdown of the marriage, it may result in a less favorable outcome for both parties.
Legal separation in Colorado is similar to divorce in many ways. Couples must still file a petition with the court, disclose their financial information, negotiate a settlement agreement or have the judge make decisions regarding their property and support obligations. Once these issues are resolved by agreement or order of the court, the parties can be legally separated while continuing to enjoy some of the benefits of marriage such as healthcare coverage on one spouse’s policy.
It’s important to note that legal separation does not dissolve a marriage like divorce does. If either party wants to get married again after being legally separated they will need to get divorced first. It is also important that individuals seek advice from an experienced attorney if considering legal separation as it may impact rights such as social security benefits and tax filings.
Explanation of Legal Separation
In addition to divorce, Colorado law also provides for legal separation as an alternative option. A legal separation allows a couple to live apart and make decisions about child custody, support and property division while remaining legally married.
- One of the benefits of a legal separation is that it allows spouses to maintain certain benefits such as health insurance coverage or social security benefits that may be lost in a divorce.
- Legal separation can also be beneficial for couples who have religious or personal beliefs against divorce but still wish to live apart.
It’s important to note that like divorce, legal separations require a court order and involve issues such as child custody, support, and property division. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
Requirements for Legal Separation in Colorado
- To file for legal separation in Colorado, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for at least 91 days before filing.
- The grounds for legal separation are the same as those for divorce, including no-fault grounds based on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and fault-based grounds such as adultery or cruelty.
During a legal separation proceeding, issues such as property division and spousal support may be addressed. However, unlike a divorce which dissolves the marriage completely, both spouses remain legally married after a legal separation. If either spouse later decides they want to proceed with a divorce instead of continuing with legal separation, they will need to file additional paperwork and go through another court proceeding.
Advantages of Legal Separation
In Colorado, the process for obtaining a legal separation is similar to that of obtaining a divorce. The couple must still reach agreements on issues such as property division, spousal support and child custody. However, unlike with divorce where the marriage is terminated, in a legal separation the couple remains married but lives apart.
Disadvantages of Legal Separation
- Cost: Legal separation can be almost as expensive as divorce, particularly if the couple needs to hire attorneys or mediators.
- No finality: Unlike divorce, legal separation does not end the marriage. This means that either spouse can still inherit from the other’s estate and they may need to continue filing taxes jointly.
- Limited benefits: Legal separation does not provide all of the same benefits as divorce, such as the ability to remarry or access certain government benefits like Social Security.
Before deciding whether legal separation is right for you, it’s important to carefully weigh these factors against your own personal circumstances and goals. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that you understand all of your options and make informed decisions about your future.
Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
- Mediation: In mediation, a neutral third party (the mediator) works with both spouses to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on all issues related to their divorce. The mediator does not make decisions for the couple but instead helps them communicate effectively and explore options that work for everyone.
- Collaborative Divorce: Collaborative divorce involves each spouse hiring their own attorney who is trained in collaboration techniques. The attorneys work together with the spouses to negotiate a settlement agreement outside of court. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement through this process, however, they must start over with new attorneys if they choose to litigate their case.
If you’re considering mediation or collaborative divorce as an option, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected throughout.
Explanation of Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
- Mediation: In mediation, both spouses work with a neutral third-party mediator who helps them negotiate a settlement agreement that works for everyone involved. The mediator does not make decisions for the couple but instead facilitates communication and helps them reach their own mutually beneficial solutions.
- Collaborative Divorce: Collaborative divorce involves each spouse hiring their own attorney who is specially trained in collaborative law. The attorneys work together with the couple to reach a settlement agreement outside of court. If the process is unsuccessful, however, each spouse must hire new attorneys if they want to pursue litigation.
The benefits of these approaches include lower costs than traditional litigation (since they typically take less time), greater privacy (since negotiations are confidential), and more control over the outcome since it’s based on what works best for both parties rather than being imposed by a judge.
Benefits of Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
- Benefits of Mediation:
- Faster resolution
- Less expensive than litigation
- Gives parties more control over the outcome
- Promotes better communication between spouses
- Benefits of Collaborative Divorce:
- Promotes cooperation rather than confrontation;
- The parties maintain control over the process; ;
li>The process often results in greater satisfaction for both parties;;
li>The process is usually faster and less expensive than traditional litigation;;
li>Involves specially trained lawyers who help facilitate negotiations between spouses.;
In conclusion, there are many different options available to couples seeking a divorce in Colorado. While fault-based divorces may provide some sense of vindication, they can also be more difficult and expensive to pursue. Alternative methods such as mediation or collaborative divorce may offer a less adversarial way to resolve disputes while promoting better communication between spouses and reducing costs associated with traditional litigation.
How to Choose a Mediator or Collaborative Divorce Attorney
- Look for someone who has experience with divorce mediation or collaboration.
- Ask for referrals from friends, family members, or other professionals such as therapists or financial advisors.
- Research potential mediators/attorneys online to learn about their credentials and experience.
- Schedule consultations with several candidates to ask questions and determine if they would be a good fit for you and your spouse.
A skilled mediator or collaborative attorney can help couples reach agreements on difficult issues such as property division, child custody, and support while minimizing conflict and preserving relationships. By choosing the right professional to guide you through this process, you can increase the likelihood of a successful outcome that meets both spouses’ needs.
Child Custody and Support
In addition to custody, parents must also reach an agreement regarding child support payments. In Colorado, both parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children until they reach adulthood or become emancipated. The amount of child support is determined by a formula that takes into account factors such as each parent’s income and expenses as well as the needs of the children.
Overview of Child Custody and Support in Colorado
- Parenting Time: In Colorado, parenting time refers to the amount of time each parent spends with their child. If parents can’t agree on a parenting plan together, a judge will determine how much parenting time is appropriate based on factors such as each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs.
- Decision-Making Responsibilities: Decision-making responsibilities refer to which parent has authority over important decisions related to their child’s health care, education, religious upbringing and other significant matters. Parents may share decision-making responsibilities equally or one parent may have primary responsibility depending on what serves their child’s best interests.
- Child Support: Child support payments are meant to help cover expenses related to raising a child after divorce or separation. The amount of support paid is determined by several factors including income levels of both parents as well as any special needs or expenses associated with raising the children.
If you’re facing divorce in Colorado involving minor children it’s essential that you consult an experienced family law attorney who can help protect your rights while advocating for your children’s best interest during these proceedings.
Factors Considered in Child Custody Cases
It’s important to note that courts typically prefer to award joint custody whenever possible so long as it is in the best interests of the child. Joint custody means that both parents share decision-making responsibilities for their children as well as parenting time. However, if one parent has a history of abuse or neglect towards their children or ex-spouse then sole custody may be awarded to protect everyone involved.
Types of Child Custody Arrangements
- Sole Custody: In this type of arrangement, one parent has both legal and physical custody of the child. The other parent may have visitation rights or parenting time but does not share in decision-making responsibilities for the child.
- Joint Custody: This is when both parents share legal and/or physical custody of their children. Joint legal custody means that both parents have equal say in making important decisions regarding their children’s upbringing. Joint physical custody means that each parent has significant periods of time during which they are responsible for caring for their children.
The court will consider several factors when determining what type of custodial arrangement is in a child’s best interests including:
- The wishes of each parent
- The relationship between the child and each parent
- The mental and physical health needs of all individuals involved
- The ability of each parent to provide a stable home environment
- The ability of each parent to provide financially for their children’s needs
Child Support Guidelines in Colorado
While these guidelines are generally followed by courts when making child support determinations, judges may deviate from them if there are unique circumstances involved. It’s important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
- Marital Property: Any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property and subject to division. This includes real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts and other assets.
- Separate Property: Any property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage or received as a gift or inheritance during the marriage is considered separate property and not subject to division.
In making decisions about how to divide marital property fairly between both parties, Colorado courts consider factors such as each spouse’s financial resources, contributions made during the marriage (including homemaking), earning potential after divorce and any prenuptial agreements in place.
Overview of Property Division in Colorado
In Colorado, judges consider several factors when dividing marital property:
- The length of the marriage
- The financial situation of each spouse
- The contributions made by each spouse during the marriage (both financially and as a homemaker)
- The value of any separate property owned by each spouse
It’s important for individuals going through a divorce in Colorado to understand their rights with regards to property division. An experienced divorce attorney can help ensure that you receive your fair share of marital assets and liabilities.
Factors Considered in Property Division Cases
Some factors that may be considered when dividing property in a divorce case include:
- The length of the marriage
- The financial resources and earning potential of each spouse
- The contributions of each spouse during the marriage, both financial and non-financial
- The value of any separate property owned by each spouse
- Any agreements made between spouses prior to or during the marriage regarding property division
If a couple is unable to come to an agreement on their own about how their property should be divided, they may need to go through mediation or have a judge make a decision for them based on these factors.
Types of Property Subject to Division
It’s important to note that separate property – assets owned before the marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage – is typically not subject to division in a divorce. However, it’s essential to have proper documentation proving any claims of separate property.
Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s financial resources and earning potential
- Contributions made by each spouse during the marriage (including non-financial contributions)
In contrast, community property states require that all marital property be divided equally between the spouses.
If you’re going through a divorce in Colorado, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process. An attorney can also help you negotiate a fair settlement agreement or represent you in court if necessary.
Spousal support can take many forms in Colorado, including:
- Temporary maintenance: This is support paid by one spouse to the other while the divorce is pending.
- Rehabilitative maintenance: This is support paid for a limited period of time to allow a lower-earning or unemployed spouse to gain education or training necessary to become self-supporting.
- Permanent maintenance: This is long-term or indefinite support that continues until either party dies or the recipient remarries.
If you are considering seeking spousal support in your divorce case, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and options under Colorado law.
Overview of Spousal Support in Colorado
If spousal support is awarded, it can be either temporary or permanent depending on the circumstances. Temporary spousal support may be ordered while a divorce case is pending, whereas permanent spousal support typically lasts until either spouse dies or remarries.
Factors Considered in Spousal Support Cases
In addition to these factors, courts may also consider other relevant circumstances such as whether one spouse stayed home to care for children while the other worked outside the home. Ultimately, spousal support awards are decided on a case-by-case basis and can vary widely depending on individual circumstances.
Types of Spousal Support
There are several types of spousal support that can be awarded in Colorado:
- Temporary Maintenance: This type of spousal support may be awarded during the divorce proceedings and before the final divorce decree is issued. Its purpose is to help the lower-earning spouse cover their living expenses while the divorce case moves forward.
- Rehabilitative Maintenance: Rehabilitative maintenance helps a spouse get back on their feet financially by providing support for a specific period of time so that they can obtain education or training necessary to become self-sufficient.
- Pemanent Maintenance: Permanent maintenance may be awarded when one spouse cannot realistically become self-supporting due to age, health issues or other factors. It provides ongoing financial assistance until circumstances change (such as remarriage) or until either party passes away
The amount and duration of alimony payments are determined based on factors such as each spouse’s income, employment prospects, length of marriage, standard of living during marriage and more. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout this process.
Duration and Amount of Spousal Support
In Colorado, spousal support may be awarded for either a set period of time or indefinitely depending on various factors such as:
- The length of the marriage
- The financial resources and earning capacity of each spouse
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The age and health condition of each spouse
- The contributions each spouse made to the marriage (e.g. through child-rearing or supporting their partner’s career)
In some cases, spousal support may be modified if there are significant changes in circumstances such as loss of income or remarriage. It’s important for individuals seeking spousal support or those who are ordered to pay it to consult with an experienced attorney who can provide guidance and representation throughout this process.
Ultimately, it’s recommended that individuals seek the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney who can help them navigate this complex process and ensure that their rights are protected throughout. By working with an attorney, spouses can also gain a better understanding of their legal options and potential outcomes as they move forward with the divorce process.
Summary of Grounds for Divorce in Colorado
Ultimately, it’s important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand your options under Colorado law and protect your rights throughout the process.
Choosing the Right Divorce Option
If you and your spouse are able to work together amicably, an uncontested divorce may be a good option. This can save both time and money compared to a contested divorce which involves litigation in court.
However, if communication has broken down or if there are complex issues such as child custody or high-value assets involved, a contested divorce may be necessary. In this case, it’s important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights throughout the process.
Importance of Hiring an Experienced Divorce Attorney
In short, hiring an experienced divorce attorney is essential when going through this difficult process. By working with someone who understands Colorado’s laws related to marital dissolution and has experience negotiating settlements or representing clients in courtrooms, individuals can increase their chances of achieving their desired outcome while protecting their rights throughout the entire process.
FAQ on ‘Divorce Law: Grounds for Divorce in Colorado’
Q: Can adultery or infidelity be used as grounds for divorce in Colorado?
A: No, adultery or infidelity alone cannot be used as grounds for divorce in Colorado. However, if the adultery led to a breakdown of the marriage, it may be considered evidence of irretrievable breakdown.
Q: Can domestic violence or abuse be used as grounds for divorce in Colorado?
A: Yes, domestic violence or abuse can be used as evidence of irretrievable breakdown and may support a claim for divorce. It may also affect decisions related to child custody and visitation.
Q: Is separation required before filing for divorce in Colorado?
A: No, there is no legal requirement for separation before filing for divorce in Colorado. However, spouses must live separately for at least 91 days before the court will finalize the divorce.
Q: Can I file for a fault-based divorce in Colorado?
A: While fault-based divorces are available in some states, they are not recognized in Colorado. All divorces must be based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.