Divorce Basics in Colorado

This article explains the general rules and procedures to get a divorce in Colorado.

This article explains the general rules and procedures to get a divorce in Colorado.

Grounds for Divorce

In Colorado, you may file for divorce if the marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning there is no chance of reconciliation. This is the only ground for dissolution in Colorado and you are not required to show proof of fault by either party.

Residency Requirement and Waiting Period

At least one spouse must be a resident of Colorado for a minimum of 90 days prior to filing for dissolution and the petition may be filed in the county where either spouse resides. You must then wait at least 90 days before a judge will grant your divorce.

Property Division in Colorado

Colorado is an equitable distribution state. This means that the judge does not have to divide your marital property equally, but instead can divide it based on what is fair. Marital property is any property, including income, that either spouse acquired during the marriage. The court will look at several factors to determine how property should be divided, such as the contribution of each spouse to the marital estate (including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker), the monetary value of the marital property, the economic circumstances of each spouse, and whether either spouse contributed separate property to the marriage. Separate property is any property that you acquired before marriage or by inheritance, and it is not subject to division by the court.


One spouse may be required to provide financial maintenance (alimony) to the other after a divorce. When the parties' combined income is less than $75,000, the court will presume that the higher earning spouse should support the lower earning spouse while the divorce is pending. If the parties' combined income is more than $75,000, the court will make a maintenance order only under certain circumstances. The court will look at factors such as the duration of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, the financial resources of both spouses, and the ability of a non-working spouse to seek education or training or find appropriate employment. Either spouse may request a modification of the maintenance amount if there is a significant change in circumstances that cause the current order to be unfair.

Child Support

In Colorado, child support is calculated based on the incomes of both parents and continues until your child graduates from high school or reaches age 19. You can estimate how much child support you are likely to pay or receive here. The amount of support may be adjusted based on how much time each parent spends with the child, any extraordinary medical expenses, or work-related childcare costs. The court may also order one or both parents to provide support for the child's college education. You may request a modification of the support order if either parent's income changes substantially or if the needs of the child change. The Colorado Child Support Enforcement Program ensures that parents are meeting their support obligations to their children.

Child Custody

Colorado courts encourage parents to share the responsibility of parenting and will make custody orders based on the best interest of the child. This means that the court will consider factors including the wishes of the parents, the relationship between the child and parents, the child's adjustment to home, school, and community, and each parent's ability to encourage contact between the child and the other parent. The court will not modify a custody order unless the parents agree or there is a substantial change in circumstances of the child or parents. If one parent wants to move away with the child, judges will look at the motive of the parent and whether the move is in the best interest of everyone concerned.

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