Colorado Divorce Laws

Residency laws for divorce in Colorado

In order to be able to apply for a divorce in Colorado one of the parties must have resided in the state of Colorado for a period of at least 90 days before applying to the courts for petition of dissolution of marriage. The petition must be made in the county in which the spouse partitioning resides.

Grounds for divorce in Colorado

In order to be able to apply for dissolution of marriage there has to be certain grounds for requiring the divorce. In Colorado, the only ground for divorce is the marriage being irretrievably broken. This means that the marriage is unable to continue due to conflict or marital discord. Colorado Statutes – Article 10 – Sections: 14-10-106.

These grounds must be proved with evidence or testimony otherwise it is possible that the courts will dismiss the case.

Property division when divorcing

When applying for a divorce in Colorado the courts prefer that the spouses settle any property and debt disputes themselves. However if this is not possible then it will be down to the courts under the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage to split any property. They will do this after considering the following:

  1. The courts will have to decide which property and debts are classed as marital
  2. Any property that is classed as marital will then have a monetary value assigned to it
  3. The value of the marital property will be divided by the courts in an equitable fashion

Equitable is what the court declares to be fair and does not necessarily mean it will be split 50/50.

When deciding what is “equitable” the court will consider the following:

  1. What contribution each of the spouses has made to the marital property
  2. The value of property that is awarded to each of the spouses
  3. The economic circumstances of each spouse, taking into account any children and their right to live in the family home for what is deemed a reasonable amount of time
  4. Any decrease or increase in the monetary value of property that is not declared marital property. Colorado Revised Statutes; Article 10, Section 14-10-113

Child custody factors

As with any state in the USA, the courts will work in the best interests of the child when it comes to determining child custody. They will consider all relevant factors when making a decision and these are outlined here:

  • Wishes of the parents of the children
  • The wishes of the child themselves if they are seen to be of reasonable age to contribute towards the decision
  • The relationship between the child and each of the parents
  • The relationship between any other person living in the homes of the spouse
  • The adjustment factor for the child which includes school and community
  • The mental and physical health of the child
  • The ability of each of the parents to be able to encourage a relationship with the other parent
  • How close in proximity the parents reside
  • Whether either of the parents has been convicted of abuse
  • The ability of each parent to place the needs of the child before their own needs. Colorado Statutes – Article 10 – Sections: 14-20-123, 14-20-124, 14-20-129

Child support factors

The court is able to ask that either of the parents pay reasonable child support regardless of whose fault the marriage break up is. The following factors will be taken into account:

  • Any financial resources that the child has
  • The resources of the parents
  • If the marriage had not broken down the standard of living which the child would have had is taken into consideration
  • The emotional, physical and educational needs of the child
  • The needs, obligations and financial resources of the parents
  • Medical insurance and medical care costs may also be ordered by the courts