Divorcing couples that agree on all property division and child custody issues should consider an uncontested divorce. In general, divorce can be an emotionally exhausting and challenging process. However, uncontested divorces offer a quicker, less expensive procedure to end a marriage.
This article will help you decide if you are eligible for an uncontested divorce in Colorado and provide the basic steps you’ll need to take for an uncontested divorce in your area. If you have additional questions about uncontested divorces in Colorado after reading this article, you should consult a local family law attorney.
In Colorado, an uncontested divorce is referred to as a “decree upon affidavit,” which means that the court can grant your divorce after you submit an affidavit rather than you showing up in court for a hearing. To be eligible for an uncontested divorce by affidavit, you’ll have to meet the following requirements:
You’ll also need to show that you served your spouse with the affidavit according to state law, which this article explains below. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-120.3 (1)(b).)
Whether you have children or not, it’s a good idea to sign a separation agreement, which states exactly how you and your spouse want to divide any property, assets, or debts between the two of you. Although you can get an uncontested divorce without attorneys, it’s also a good idea to have an attorney review your separation agreement to make sure it meets the court’s requirements.
If you do have children, you will need to make sure that your separation agreement addresses property and debt division, as well as child custody, the visitation schedule, child support, and spousal support.
You can file for an uncontested divorce by submitting “an affidavit for decree without appearance of parties” in the district court of the county where either you or your spouse lives. Your county district court clerk’s office should have a form affidavit you can use. You and your spouse can file the affidavit together as “co-petitioners,” or you can file the affidavit by yourself, in which case you will be the “petitioner,” and your spouse will be the “respondent.”
It’s important to understand that although you may be able to find online divorce forms through the state government website, you can not file online. You must personally deliver the forms to the court to begin the divorce process.
You’ll have to state in the affidavit that you’ve met all of the requirements for a divorce. If you or your spouse wants to return to a prior name, you should state that in the affidavit as well. Click here for a sample affidavit for decree without appearance of the parties.
If you file the affidavit for decree as co-petitioners with your spouse, you do not have to serve (deliver) a copy of the affidavit on your spouse.
If you file the affidavit by yourself, however, you will need to serve the affidavit on your spouse legally. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-107 (4)(a).) You can ask your county sheriff to serve your spouse, or your spouse can sign a waiver of service, which is a form you can get from your district court clerk’s office.
Once the court receives your filed affidavit, the judge will decide whether to grant the divorce immediately or require the spouses to appear for a hearing first. Different judges may have different reasons for asking a divorcing couple to appear for a hearing. Sometimes, the judge will hold a hearing to ask the spouses questions to make sure they meet all of the requirements or to make sure the separation agreement is fair to both spouses.
Once the court determines that the spouses meet all the requirements for a divorce and is satisfied with the agreement, the judge will issue a “decree of dissolution of marriage” that legally divorces you and your spouse. The judge can only sign the decree of dissolution after at least 90 days have passed since the spouses filed the affidavit. If you have signed a separation agreement with your spouse, the court will attach your agreement to the decree of divorce.
If you have additional questions about uncontested divorce in Colorado, you should speak with a local family law attorney.
To read the full text of the law on uncontested divorce in Colorado, read the Colorado Revised Statutes Annotated § 14-10-120-120.5.