First up, some good news. Divorce rates in the United States have dropped to a 40-year low!
The bad news, though, is the drop isn’t good enough to guarantee you the long, happy marriage you’re (or were) hoping for. In fact, Colorado is one of the top states where marriages are likely to end up in divorce.
Whichever way you look at it, divorce is a traumatic experience. The impact of separation, especially on children, can have life-long consequences.
It helps to go into a divorce equipped with a general idea of the legal challenges you face. We’re making that easier for you by listing 4 things you need to know about Colorado divorce law.
1. Residency Requirement
Residency requirements for filing for a divorce vary from state to state.
In Colorado, one of the spouses must have been a resident for at least 90 days prior to the commencement of the divorce proceedings.
However, it’s essential to note that just being a resident for 90 days isn’t enough. You must have had the intention of making the state a permanent home. To determine this, the court typically looks at whether the applicant has paid income tax, acquired a driving license or registered a motor vehicle in the state.
2. Grounds for Divorce
Why do you want to divorce?
In most states, the most common grounds for dissolution of marriage include domestic abuse, adultery, incarceration, and desertion.
In Colorado divorce law, none of these grounds apply. The state is a “no fault” state, meaning you certainly won’t get a divorce if your grounds for applying for a divorce is a cheating partner. The only ground for dissolution is if the spouses have irreconcilable differences or irretrievable breakdown.
3. Property Division
Property division is usually a big challenge among divorcing or legally separated couples. In Colorado, it’s no easier.
If you can agree on how to divide your property and write down your decisions in a separation agreement, Colorado courts will grant your wishes. But if you fail to agree (as often happens), the court will, in its own discretion, divide the property.
The court will typically set aside separate property. This is property acquired by either spouse before marriage or after a legal separation. It also includes gifted or inherited assets, as well as any assets the couple chooses to, through a valid agreement, exclude from the marital estate.
For marital property (acquired during the marriage), the court will divide between the spouses. It will consider factors such as:
- The economic welfare of each spouse after dissolution of the marriage
- The contribution (both economic and home-making contribution) of each spouse toward acquisition of the assets
4. Alimony (Spousal Maintenance)
Like property division, the divorcing partners can agree on which spouse will support another during and after the divorce proceedings, as well as the amount and frequency of the payments.
If you can’t agree on spousal support, the court will make a decision for you. It has the power to order the higher-earning spouse to pay alimony to the lower-earning or unemployed spouse during the proceedings and after the divorce.
If you’re seeking long-term alimony, you must prove that you lack the financial ability or occupational skills to get a job and support yourself after the divorce.
In awarding the alimony, the court will also consider your age and health, the other spouse’s income and financial ability, length of marriage and standards of living established during the marriage.
Beyond Colorado Divorce Law
These are not the only things to know about Colorado divorce law. You also need to know rules about child custody and support.
But more than gaining an understanding of divorce law in the state, you need an experienced divorce attorney by your side.
At Perusse Family Law and Mediation Services, we take pride in successfully guiding our clients through all aspects of a divorce, be it child custody, property matters or spousal maintenance.
Feel free to get in touch and schedule a consultation with us.