A collaborative divorce is when both parties agree to a mutually beneficial resolution, without the possibility of going through with an alternative course of action. Mediation is a type of negotiation between two parties where they each present their case to an impartial third party who then makes recommendations to them. A collaborative divorce begins when both parties agree not to litigate or go through trial if they cannot reach an agreement.
Our Colorado Springs uncontested divorce lawyers are dedicated to peaceful, cooperative solutions when we can. That's why most of our staff is made up of skilled negotiators and certified mediators who know how to get people to agree on things. We think that negotiating is an effective way to resolve conflicts.
Difference Between Uncontested and Contested Divorces
On average the uncontested divorce process is simpler and more cost-effective than a contested divorce. But if couples cannot come to an agreement, they must go to court to settle their differences through a contested divorce.
During a contested divorce, a judge will examine all the evidence, including extensive financial records or testimony from professionals. This process can get difficult, especially if one spouse tries to bring up the other's “dirty laundry,” or undermine them by alleging infidelity, for example.
In divorce cases, both spouses hire experienced family law attorneys who work hard to prove their case. They gather evidence and prepare legal arguments. Then, they go before a judge who decides whether or not to grant the divorce. Sometimes, the process takes months or even years. But, if you’ve already decided to end your marriage and agree on most issues, then you might as well save yourself the trouble and just do it!
Requirements for Uncontested Divorce in Colorado
If there isn't any opposition from either party, the judge may grant a divorce without requiring you to appear at a hearing. It can make the process less stressful and time consuming and more convenient for both parties.
However, if you live in Colorado, you must meet certain criteria before you can file for an uncontested dissolution of marriage. These criteria are:
- You or your partner must have been living in Colorado for at least 90 days.
- You and your partner both agreed that the marriage is irreparably broken,
- You and your spouse own no marital assets or you've signed a separation agreement dividing your assets fairly, then you don't need to file for divorce.
- Neither you nor your spouse has any minor kids. If you and your partner have any minor children you must have a signed parenting plan and you both need to be legally represented by an attorney.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Colorado
During an uncontested divorce, if all paperwork is correct it is possible to avoid a court hearing. If you want to file for an uncontested divorce, here's how it works:
Complete and Submit Divorce Paperwork
The first step you must take for a no-contest divorce in Colorado is to file a petition for dissolution of marriage. You can get a copy of this paperwork from the clerk of the county where either you or your spouse lives. This form must be filled out correctly and submitted to the court either by you or your attorney.
You have two options when filing this petition:
- You and your spouse jointly file for divorce as “co-petitioners.”
- You act as the "petitioner" and file the form and your spouse acts as the “respondent”
Serve Your Spouse
If you're filing for divorce as co-petitioners, you will not need to serve your spouse.
If you file as the petitioner, you will need to deliver a copy of the initial divorce papers to your spouse and be able to prove to the court that they received it. This process is referred to as “serving” papers.
You can get assistance from your county sheriff or process servers in order to serve your spouse. You can also ask your husband or wife to sign a waiver of service form from the district court clerks' offices.
Sign a Separation Agreement and Parenting Plan
An uncontested divorce requires a separation agreement. This document identifies in writing the issues you and your ex-spouses have resolved in your divorce. Both parties should be able to confirm that the document accurately reflects their agreement.
A separation agreement must address these issues:
- Spousal Support, commonly referred to as alimony
- Marital property division
- Marital debt division
You may also be required to submit a parenting plan if there are minor kids involved in the divorce. A court hearing is more likely when there are minor kids involved.
Once the judge has reviewed the settlement, he or she will decide if the terms of the settlement are fair and enforceable. You won't need to appear in court for this case.
If the separation agreement is deemed to be unreasonable by the court, you may be asked to revise it.
If you have children, the court will consider whether the parenting plan is in their best interest. If neither party has legal representation, the court may order them to appear at a hearing for an uncontested case. If both parties are represented by divorce attorneys, the court may allow you to continue the divorce proceedings with a decree by affidavit.
Decree By Affidavit
If you have a separation agreement and you don't have any children, or if you do have children but you are in agreement on child custody, you can file for a "decree by affidavit." In this case you can file a document called an Affidavit for Decree Without Appearance of Parties. If you meet the criteria for an uncontested divorce, so the court may decide to grant your dissolution of marriage without having to appear in court for a hearing.
How Can Our Divorce Lawyers Help?
We understand that each client has their own unique situation and needs. Because we know that every relationship and every person is different, we customize our services to meet your specific case.
We offer consultations to help you understand your rights under the law and how the law can help you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with an experienced divorce attorney. We’ll be happy to answer any of your legal concerns and explain spousal and child visitation, alimony, child care expenses, and other aspects of divorce.