Going through a divorce can be a very stressful and difficult time for all family members. Our talented Colorado Springs divorce attorneys will allow you to focus on any personal issues you may encounter while your lawyers handle the day-to-day details and ensure your case stays on track.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your case. Our team has decades of family law experience and we're ready to relendlesly fight on your behalf.
How Do You Find a Good Divorce Lawyer?
Finding the best legal representation for your divorce is incredibly important. Experienced divorce lawyers will know the best ways to approach your specific case and will be able to react quickly to any unexpected complications. It is also a good idea to work with an attorney who is communicative and who you are comfortable with, as it will make the entire process easier on you.
So how do you find the right divorce attorney?
- Ask for recommendations. If you know any friends or family who have gone through a divorce ask about the lawyer they used and see how they felt about the experience.
- Look online. Google searches or looking through local attorney directories can be a great way to turn up established divorce lawyers.
- Look to the State Bar Association listings. They will have a list of registered attorneys in your area which you can use to do further research into each.
Regardless of which method you choose to identify potential attorneys, your next step should be to meet with each of them. Most divorce lawyers will offer a consultation and you can use this as a chance to present your case and learn more about their practice and experience. Write down any questions you want answered to be sure you cover everything and make sure you are comfortable with the lawyer before moving forward.
How Long Can a Divorce Take?
It is difficult to determine how long a divorce will take, as there are many factors that can influence the time frame. In the best-case scenario, a divorce could be finalized in 3 months, but this would only be possible in an incredibly simple case with no children, little to no asset division, and both parties in complete agreement.
A particularly difficult divorce could realistically take a few years to finalize. A typical case is likely to be completed in 6-12 months, however.
Must Read: How much can a divorce cost?
What Factors Affect the Length of a Divorce Proceeding?
Factors that can impact how long your divorce takes can include:
- Children. This is a major one, as custody battles are common and can frequently drag the divorce process out.
- Length of the marriage. Longer marriages give couples more time to accumulate shared marital assets which will need to be divided in the divorce. The more shared assets there are the longer it usually takes to complete this process.
- Net worth. Higher net-worth couples will have more assets to divide at the dissolution of the marriage. These will typically take longer to work through unless there is an existing prenuptial agreement in place or both parties can reach a postnuptial agreement.
- Agreement between each spouse. If both parties want the divorce and agree over asset division, child custody, etc. the process will run far more smoothly and generally be considerably quicker. If one spouse does not want the marriage to end or there are disagreements over how the divorce will proceed it can cause contention and lead to longer times working through the specifics.
It is no surprise that simpler cases move more quickly, as complex divorce issues simply take more time to solve. Even if you and your spouse agree on everything concerning your divorce it can still be in your best interest to seek legal advice.
An experienced Colorado attorney will know the best ways to speed up your divorce and help you avoid common mistakes that could drag the process out.
How Can I Speed Up the Process?
There are steps you and your spouse can take in order to speed up your divorce and get it finalized more quickly. In general, the best way to avoid a protracted divorce case is to find ways to work with your spouse where possible, as conflict will always take longer to work through. Two important factors to make your case run as smoothly as possible are:
- Try to avoid litigation. Try to work with your spouse to reach compromises over asset division and other areas of your divorce. Mediation services can allow both of you, as well as your respective attorneys, to meet and discuss disagreements while searching for fair compromises. Avoiding taking your case to court will help keep your divorce shorter from start to finish.
- Keep a cool head. Divorce is an inherently emotional process. Allowing tempers to flare while negotiating agreements is never a good idea, so try to approach each issue rationally. Compromise is a normal part of completing a divorce and refusing to do so because you are angry over something will only draw the process out for longer.
How to File For Divorce in Colorado
While it is impossible to say exactly how each divorce will proceed there are some commonalities in the order the different steps will take place. In general, a Colorado divorce will move forward in the following order:
This first step is what sets the whole process in motion. There are two rules that must be met in order to file a petition for divorce in Colorado.
- One spouse must file the petition, it does not require both parties to file for divorce.
- At least one spouse is required to have maintained permanent residency in Colorado for 91 days before filing forms for divorce.
Initial Court Document Review
Getting a divorce requires the completion of quite a bit of paperwork. You will receive documents from the court after filing your petition that will need to be submitted, you will receive the date for your Initial Status Conference, and you may also receive court orders such as required parenting classes.
Proof of Service
If only one spouse is filing for divorce, the other must be served with all the court documents needed to proceed. If you are the filing partner you will be required to submit proof to the court showing that you followed the proper steps to provide these documents to your spouse.
Submit Necessary Colorado Divorce Forms
At this stage, you will need to complete and submit all the necessary paperwork to move forward with your divorce.
Initial Status Conference
This will be your first appearance in the divorce court process. You will be required to have completed your parenting class and have your financial statements prepared. The Initial Status Conference serves as an opportunity for both parties to present their issues to the court.
If any of the issues presented before the court are contested by the other party you may be required to attend mediation to settle them. Common areas addressed in mediation include the division of marital assets and child custody issues.
Related: Benefits of mediation
You and your spouse will meet with a third-party mediator in an effort to reach an agreement on any sticking points in your case before having a judge hand down their decision.
If you were unable to reach a compromise on any contested issues in mediation they will be decided on at this stage. Each side will have an opportunity to argue their case before the judge issues their ruling.
Dissolution of Marriage
The final step in your divorce process. The court will file any orders attached to your divorce and submit the decree dissolving your marriage.
How is an Uncontested Divorce Different Than a Contested Divorce?
There are two types of divorce recognized in Colorado: Contested and Uncontested. Uncontested divorces are generally simpler and considerably quicker than contested divorces. The difference between the two comes down to whether your divorce is settled out of court (uncontested) or decided by a judge in a trial (contested).
Uncontested divorces are usually preferred due to the speed with which they can be resolved, the greater degree of privacy they offer, and the increased control you have in the finalized divorce ruling when compared to what a judge may decide. They are not always achievable, however, as they require a degree of cooperation and compromise between both parties.
How Does Alimony Work After a Divorce in Colorado?
Colorado has several requirements in place to determine eligibility for spousal maintenance or alimony payments.
- The marriage has to have lasted at least 10 years
- You must be able to demonstrate an inability to financially support yourself independently
- You must also be able to demonstrate that your spouse will be capable of financially supporting you following the dissolution of the marriage
There are a number of factors that will be looked into when determining spousal maintenance payments, but either spouse may be eligible for alimony if they meet the above requirements. It is important to know that there are several different types of alimony and to understand the differences between them.
Related: How to calculate alimony
Different Types of Alimony
Colorado courts may award 5 different types of alimony payments:
- Separation Alimony: This may be required when a married couple separates but does not proceed with a divorce. If the couple reconciles and ends their separation the alimony payments will no longer be valid, otherwise, they may last for up to 3 years.
- Temporary Alimony: This is paid throughout the divorce proceedings and may last for up to 3 years after the marriage is officially ended.
- Permanent Alimony: This is paid after the divorce is finalized and has no set end date. While it is called permanent alimony it is not necessarily permanent as it can be ended with certain changes in circumstances. The judge will look over numerous factors during the divorce proceeding, such as physical and mental health, work history, and age, before awarding this type of alimony.
- Reimbursement Alimony: This is paid as a form of reimbursement toward the spouse that offered financial support during the marriage. Common situations that may qualify you to receive reimbursement alimony include paying for your spouse's job training or education. This type of alimony may last for up to 5 years.
- Rehabilitative Alimony: This is paid in an effort to assist one spouse in becoming self-sufficient following the end of the marriage and can last for up to 5 years.
Work With an Experienced Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney
Whether your divorce case is simple or complicated, contested or uncontested, working with a talented and knowledgeable divorce lawyer can help you speed up the process, stay on top of the paperwork, and make the best decisions for your situation in an otherwise stressful and emotionally charged time.
At The Law Office of Jeanne M. Wilson & Associates P.C. we offer our legal services to those facing divorce action. Our dedicated legal team will help you work through child custody matters, negotiate the division of marital assets, and help you navigate spousal support payments.
Contact our family law firm today to schedule a consultation to see how we can help you!
Our office is located at 1160 Lake Plaza Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80906- 5 minutes away from the Meadows Park Community Center
- Only 10 miles from Peterson Space Force Base
- A quick 15-minute drive from the Colorado Springs Airport