How to File for Divorce in Colorado

With some guidance and support, you will feel more confident and better prepared to navigate the Colorado divorce process.

Whether you’re considering a separation or you’re ready to file for divorce, this guide will offer the insights and support you need. You can choose a more peaceful path forward and completely avoid the challenges of a high-conflict court battle.

Divorce in Colorado

As of 2021, the Centennial State had the 15th-highest divorce rate.

Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, meaning there is no legal requirement for either spouse to demonstrate the other’s misconduct in order to proceed with a divorce. The sole grounds for divorce in Colorado is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This means that there is no chance of reconciliation.

Types of divorce in Colorado

A Colorado divorce can be contested or uncontested.

Contested divorce

contested divorce occurs when the spouses cannot agree on one or more key issues related to the divorce. These might include child custody, property division, or spousal support. The spouses then have a choice to make. They can decide to work with a divorce mediator to reach mutually beneficial agreements or take the case to trial, where a judge will make the final decision on all the matters at hand.

Uncontested divorce

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on all aspects of their separation, eliminating the need for a trial. Working with a mediator helps spouses address all necessary topics, understand divorce laws, and develop creative agreements in their best interest. This process is typically quicker and less expensive than a contested divorce.

Whether contested or uncontested, mediation is the simpler and healthier approach to divorce.

This is an image of a person taking notes about contested and uncontested divorce in Colorado.Alimony

Alimony is legally referred to as spousal maintenance in Colorado. It is designed to provide financial assistance to the lower-earning or non-earning spouse to help them maintain a standard of living similar to what they were accustomed to during the marriage.

In Colorado, alimony payments can be:

  • Temporary: This is intended to provide for the lower-earning or non-earning spouse’s needs while the divorce is pending;
  • Rehabilitative: This is intended to help the spouse who needs education, training, or work experience to re-establish themselves in the workforce to become financially independent; or
  • Permanent: This is awarded when the marriage is long-term, and one spouse is unable to achieve a standard of living similar to what they were accustomed to during the marriage due to age, health, or lack of marketable skills.

The court considers several factors when determining alimony, including the financial resources of both spouses, the standard of living established during the marriage, and the duration of the marriage.

Child custody and child support

Colorado law refers to child custody as parental responsibility. It encompasses parenting time and child-related decisions.

Parenting time (physical custody)

Parenting time refers to the actual time a parent spends with their child. In mediation, parents create a parenting time schedule outlining when the child will be in the care of each parent. In court, a judge makes the final determinations.

The primary goal of parenting time is to ensure that the child has a stable and consistent relationship with both parents, which is essential for their development in typical circumstances.

Decision-making responsibilities (legal custody)

This aspect of parental responsibilities focuses on a parent’s authority to make significant decisions that affect the welfare of minor children. This includes choices about their education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.

Aurit Center Certified Mediators believe in prioritizing children every step of the way. Your mediator will work with you and your co-parent to reach any and all agreements related to child custody issues. Your kids will remain at the forefront of each conversation.

This is an image of several children making artwork.

Alternatives to divorce in Colorado

Aside from divorce, there are other paths for spouses looking to part ways in Colorado.


An annulment is a legal action that declares a marriage null and void — as though it never occurred.

Grounds for an annulment are specific, requiring clear and convincing evidence that the marriage was invalid from the start. In Colorado, the grounds include lack of consent, an inability to consummate the marriage, fraud, duress, and the existence of a prior marriage.

This rigorous standard means that annulments are relatively rare and can be challenging and complicated to pursue.

Legal separation

In a legal separation, spouses remain legally married but live separately.

Legal separation is an option for those with religious, financial, or other reasons to avoid divorce. This allows them to live apart while having clear legal arrangements.

Legal separation mediation can be a valuable tool for spouses. An expert mediator fosters a supportive space for spouses to collaboratively work through the details of their separation, including property division, child custody, and financial support. When children are involved, the mediator helps the co-parents develop a detailed parenting plan that meets their children’s unique needs.

Cost of divorce in Colorado

You might be wondering, “How much does it cost to divorce in Colorado?”

The average cost of divorce in Colorado is $10,000–$15,000 per spouse, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Mediation helps you completely avoid many of the costs associated with acourt-driven divorce process. The Aurit Center offers all-inclusive, flat fees that are up to 90% less than the average total cost of divorce litigation.

Steps to file a divorce in Colorado

Here are the typical steps to get a divorce in Colorado:

1. Determine residency

You and your spouses will need to determine whether you meet Colorado residency requirements. At least one of you must have lived in Colorado for a minimum of 91 days before you can file for divorce.

If you have minor children, they should have lived in Colorado for at least 182 days before the courts can enter orders related to parenting.

2. Complete and file divorce forms

The initial divorce forms in Colorado include the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation (JDF 1101) and the Case Information Sheet (JDF 1000). Divorce paperwork can be complicated, and mistakes can lead to wasted time, effort, and money. In mediation, an expert mediator will guide you in completing the divorce paperwork and filing it in court.

Image of a person typing at their computer on their bed, with a cup of coffee nearby.3. Share the divorce papers with your spouse

In a court process, once the divorce petition is prepared, the focus shifts to involving your spouse in the process by serving them with the divorce papers.

In mediation, neither spouse is “served”. You will both work with your expert mediator to reach agreements, minimizing stress and fostering collaboration.

4. Complete all additional documents

Depending on your situation, you may need to submit financial disclosures and financial statements.

For an uncontested divorce, you will also need to file a Separation Agreement Form, which includes agreements about spousal support, allocation of marital debts, and division of property.

5. Attend the preliminary meeting

In Colorado, a preliminary meeting or an Initial Status Conference is the first step in the court process for a divorce or legal separation. In this meeting, the court reviews the case to determine its status and what needs to be done to move it forward.

By choosing mediation, spouses can avoid this preliminary meeting in court all together. All mediation meetings will take place with both spouses present and their mediator will help them reach their best agreements.

6. Finalize the divorce

In litigation, the court makes the final decisions. This includes putting in place any arrangements for financial support between you and your spouse, if applicable. You will also receive the final divorce papers, the official documents that confirm your process has been finalized.

In mediation, spouses stay in control of the decisions. Agreements reached in mediation serve as a guide in moving forward the divorce toward finalization.

Mediation offers a smoother divorce process

Mediation provides a structured yet flexible environment where the spouses can each express their needs and concerns.

With the guidance of a professional mediator, spouses engage in open and honest dialogue. The mediation process is designed to promote understanding, which can be particularly advantageous when there are children involved. In mediation, you set a positive precedent for co-parenting moving forward.

Image of a person blowing the seeds of a dandelion.

One of the key benefits of mediation is that it empowers spouses, keeping them in control of all decisions. The agreements reached are crafted by the spouses, which leads to positive outcomes.

In essence, mediation acknowledges the complexities of marital dissolution. It addresses the complexities in a way that honors both spouses’ voices and values. This paves the way for a brighter future moving forward.

Choose the most amicable path to ending a marriage

The divorce process in Colorado can be intimidating, but with the right resources and guidance, it’s possible to reach a resolution that respects both spouses’ interests.

The path to a smoother divorce lies in open communication and understanding. An Aurit Center Certified Mediator will guide you both on this path, helping you reach your best possible agreements.

Schedule a free one-hour consultation to meet with an Aurit Center Certified Mediator and get answers to all of your divorce questions.

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