Getting a divorce in Colorado can be daunting, so following is a generalized overview of the process and what to expect.
The first step in the Colorado divorce process is to file the necessary paperwork. If you are filing pro se (you do not have an attorney), the initial paperwork that needs to be filed can be found here.
Filing the case:
If you both agree to go forward with the divorce and are filing without attorneys, you can both sign the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (available on the Colorado Supreme Court website) as Petitioner and Co-Petitioner. If your spouse doesn’t agree to the divorce or won’t sign the Petition, you can file yourself. If you file on your own, you will need to have your spouse served with the Petition and related paperwork or they will need to sign a Waiver of Service acknowledging they have received the paperwork but are not requiring formal service.
Receiving Divorce Papers:
If your spouse has you served with divorce papers or requests that you sign a Waiver of Service, a case has already been filed with the Court. If you are asked to sign a Waiver of Service, this means you are not requiring that you be formally served by an uninterested third party (usually a sheriff’s deputy or process server). You do not have to sign the Waiver and can require personal service. Also, if you are a member of the military, a reservist, or in the National Guard on active duty, you can request the proceedings be suspended for a time under the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA). You may want to consult with an attorney to discuss whether this is something you would like to do.
Once you receive the paperwork, you have 21 days to file a Response (35 days if you are served outside the state of Colorado). It is important to review the information in the paperwork you receive. If there is inaccurate information such as incorrect birthdates, marriage date (this is especially important if there is a common law marriage), date of separation, or other inaccuracies, you will want to correct these in your Response. Even if there is nothing that needs to be corrected, you should still file a Response to indicate to the court that you plan on participating in the process.
After the case is filed, you will receive several deadlines from the Court. The tasks to be completed and the deadlines can be overwhelming, so it is important to go step by step.