Considering dissolving a marriage is difficult. We understand that this
may be a stressful and emotionally charged situation and we want to provide
you with the steady guidance and compassionate assistance you deserve
during this process.
Our Colorado Springs divorce attorneys have
more than 100 years of combined experience and we are ready to listen and defend your best interests.
5 Reasons to Choose Our Divorce lawyers in Colorado Springs:
Free Initial Consultation
100+ Years of Collective Experience
Compassionate & Dedicated Attorneys
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®
The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100
Call (719) 602-5888 to schedule a free consultation with a Colorado Springs
divorce lawyer at Clawson & Clawson LLP.
What is the First Step in Getting a Divorce in Colorado?
For some people, the first step in ending their marriage is to file for
legal separation. Many couples choose to legally separate because their
relationship is on the rocks but they still want to try to salvage the
marriage without the pressure of living in close quarters. For others,
the purpose of legal separation is to test out terms for child custody,
alimony, and property division without the finality of a divorce.
If, however, you are ready to take the plunge and move ahead with your
divorce, then the first step for you to take is to hire a Colorado Springs
divorce lawyer who can help you file a petition for dissolution of marriage.
Our Lawyers Handle All Aspects of Divorce
At Clawson & Clawson, LLP our attorneys have more than 100 years of
experience combined and are able to help you in all aspects of divorce.
This includes, but is not limited to the items below:
Before you can file your petition, either you or your spouse must have
been established as a Colorado resident for at least 90 days. Colorado
is a "no-fault" divorce state, meaning that you do not have
to prove that either party is to blame for the failure of the marriage.
This is now true of nearly all states, whereas in earlier years it was
necessary to demonstrate that one of the spouses had caused the divorce
to be necessary through actions such as adultery,
domestic abuse, or desertion. In today's legal system, all that is required now is to
state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken."
What Happens if One Person is Opposed to the Divorce?
In most cases, both spouses agree to get the divorce and they each sign
the petition as co-petitioners. If, on the other hand, your spouse is
not in contact with you or is opposed to the divorce, then you will have
to have the petition delivered through a process server or law enforcement
official. The petition will state your terms for the divorce, and your
spouse will have 20 days in which to file a response that either accepts
your terms or asserts a counter-claim. In the event that your spouse fails
to file a response before the deadline, the court may rule in your favor
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
You have the option of either reaching an out-of-court settlement for your
divorce or of bringing it before a judge. The former, which is referred
to as an "uncontested divorce," can be achieved through mediation
or negotiation with your spouse, while the latter, a "contested divorce,"
is essentially a courtroom trial.
An uncontested divorce has the advantages of being more private, faster,
and less stressful, in addition to the fact that it allows you to maintain
a greater degree of control rather than having the judge issue arbitrary
rulings for you. Uncontested divorce is, however, not always possible,
and if this is true in your case, then it is important to have an attorney
who is prepared to fight aggressively to defend your personal interests.
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, there are certain guiding
principles that are used to decide the outcome of a divorce in Colorado:
Child Custody and Visitation
When the judge is ruling on a contested divorce or reviewing an uncontested
divorce settlement, he or she examines the arrangement for parental responsibilities
to ensure that it serves the
children's best interests. This includes questions such as whether each parent is willing to foster
the children's relationship with the other parent, the degree to which
each parent can provide for the children's needs, and whether either parent
has a history of domestic violence or
The family law courts in Colorado apply the principle of "equitable
distribution," which means that the division of assets and debts
in a divorce is intended to be
fair, rather than strictly
equal. The property division may not, in other words, be an even 50-50 split
between you and your spouse. Factors that influence the division of property
include each spouse's contribution to the marital estate, services rendered
as a homemaker, which parent will receive child custody, and whether certain
assets are separate or shared property.
There is no guarantee that alimony will be awarded in any divorce, but
it is not uncommon. Spousal support is typically awarded in cases in which
one of the spouses has been financially dependent on the other and will
require a period of time to acquire the necessary training or education
to become economically self-sufficient. The purpose of spousal support
is to help the recipient maintain an acceptable standard of living while
easing back into single life.
Stay in Control of Your Divorce
It is impossible to keep a divorce entirely out of the courtroom, but you
have options for protecting your privacy and maintaining control of the
proceeding. If you and your spouse are able to work together constructively,
a divorce attorney from our firm can assist you with negotiating the terms
for an out-of-court settlement. This is referred to as an "uncontested
divorce." If, on the other hand, you and your spouse cannot maintain
amicable relations, then the divorce will most likely be contested in court.
When this happens, your attorney has the task of persuading the judge to
rule in your favor on matters including child custody and visitation,
property division, and spousal support. In either scenario, it is in your
best interest to retain legal representation from the outset of the case.
Colorado law provides the option of "no-fault" divorce, meaning
that you do not need to prove that either party is responsible for the
failure of the marriage. All that is necessary is to state that the relationship
is "irretrievably broken." The only other major requirement
is that either you or your spouse has been a resident of this state for
at least 90 days prior to filing your petition.
What is a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?
If you and your spouse have agreed to divorce, then you can both sign the
petition for dissolution of marriage. If, on the other hand, your spouse
is opposed to the divorce or is not in contact with you, then it will
be necessary to serve him or her with a copy of the petition, after which
your spouse will have 20 days to file a response and counter-claim. If
he or she fails to file a response before the deadline, then the court
may rule in your favor in a default judgment.
How is Property Divided in a Divorce Under Colorado Law?
The division of property and assets may be different depending on what
state you are in. In the video below, we provide detail about how the
laws can affect your divorce.