Colorado Divorce Laws

When a couple marries, the last thing they want is for their love to end in divorce, but the reality is many marriages do end in divorce. If you and your spouse are ready to dissolve the marriage and you live in Colorado, what are the legal requirements to divorce?

The following table outlines the basics of Colorado's divorce laws, which regulate residency requirements, stipulate certain legal grounds, and other matters. Note that the procedures for dissolving a civil union in Colorado are basically the same.

Code Sections Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14: Domestic Matters, Article 10: Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act
Residency Requirements You must live in Colorado for at least 90 days before you are eligible to divorce in the state.
Waiting Period The divorce decree can be entered into only 90 days after the case was filed if filed together with your spouse or 90 days after serving the divorce papers on your spouse.

If either spouse (thought typically the spouse who didn’t request the divorce) denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court can continue the case for another 30-60 days.
No Fault Grounds for Divorce Colorado is a “no fault” divorce state. This means you don’t’ have to prove any wrongdoing by either spouse. The only grounds for divorce is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Defenses to a Divorce Filing As a divorce can be requested by only one party, there aren’t defenses or ways to permanently stop your spouse from requesting a divorce.

However, it is a defense that Colorado that the court lacks jurisdiction over you. That means, you didn’t live in Colorado, weren’t married in Colorado, don’t have anything to do with Colorado, so your spouse shouldn’t file for divorce there, even if he or she happens to live there now. If you’re served with divorce papers in a state you have no connection with, you would need to timely respond with an objection or hire a local attorney to object to the state’s jurisdiction over the divorce.
Other Grounds for Divorce Although previously there were fault-based grounds for divorce, such as adultery, abandonment, or cruelty (domestic violence), today there are no grounds for divorce in Colorado beside irretrievable breakdown.

Note: State laws change all the time, therefore, it’s important to verify the laws you are researching by conducting your own legal research or consulting with an experienced Colorado family law attorney.

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