Summary: In Colorado, couples seeking a divorce are subject to a waiting period before their marriage can officially be dissolved. This waiting period is designed to provide couples with the opportunity to reconcile their differences and potentially save their marriage. The length of the waiting period varies depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce. In this article, we will discuss the waiting period for divorce in Colorado and what factors may impact the duration of the waiting period.
1. Waiting Period Requirements
In Colorado, all divorces are subject to a mandatory waiting period. This waiting period starts from the time the divorce petition is filed and served on the other spouse. The minimum waiting period for a couple without children is 91 days, while the minimum waiting period for a couple with children is 126 days. These waiting periods cannot be waived or shortened, regardless of whether the couple has come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce.
The waiting period is intended to provide couples with time to consider their decision carefully and work towards a resolution. During this time, spouses may seek counseling or mediation to try and work out their differences. If reconciliation is not possible, the waiting period ensures that both parties have ample time to prepare for the divorce proceedings and make necessary arrangements for themselves and their children.
It’s important to note that the waiting period only applies to uncontested divorces. If a couple is unable to agree on the terms of their divorce and need to go to court, the process may take significantly longer than the minimum waiting period.
2. Factors Impacting the Waiting Period
The length of the waiting period can vary depending on several factors. For example, if a couple has children together, they may have to wait longer before their divorce is finalized. This is because additional court orders and agreements may need to be put in place to address issues such as child custody, visitation, and support.
Another factor that may impact the waiting period is whether one or both spouses are in the military. If a military member is serving overseas, for example, the court may allow for an extension of the waiting period to give them more time to respond to the divorce petition and make arrangements for their family.
In some cases, couples may be able to waive the waiting period if they can demonstrate that they have been separated for a certain amount of time prior to filing for divorce. However, this typically only applies in cases where both parties agree on the terms of their divorce and do not have children.
3. The Importance of Legal Representation
Regardless of the length of the waiting period, it’s important for couples seeking a divorce to have legal representation. A divorce attorney can guide their clients through the divorce process, ensuring that all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and that their client’s interests are protected. In addition, an attorney can advise their client on the potential impact of factors like the length of the waiting period and any special circumstances that may be relevant to their case.
Working with an attorney can also help couples to come to an agreement more quickly, potentially shortening the overall length of the divorce process. This is because attorneys can help their clients negotiate the terms of their divorce and reach a settlement before the case goes to trial. By avoiding litigation, couples can save time and money and reduce the stress associated with a divorce.
For these reasons, it’s highly recommended that anyone seeking a divorce in Colorado retain the services of an experienced divorce attorney.
4. Alternatives to Divorce
For couples who are unsure about whether they want to go through with a divorce, there are alternatives available. One such alternative is legal separation, which allows a couple to live apart and divide their assets and debts without dissolving their marriage.
Legal separation can be a temporary solution that allows couples to work on their relationship while still maintaining some of the legal benefits of marriage. It’s important to note, however, that legal separation does not provide the same protections as divorce, such as the ability to remarry or the right to inherit property in the absence of a will.
Another option for couples considering divorce is mediation. Mediation involves working with a neutral third party to negotiate the terms of the divorce, including issues like child custody, support, and property division. Mediation can be a less adversarial and more collaborative process than traditional divorce proceedings, and can help couples reach an agreement more quickly and with less stress.
Ultimately, the waiting period for divorce in Colorado is designed to provide couples with time to work through their differences and potentially save their marriage. While the length of the waiting period can vary depending on a variety of factors, all couples seeking a divorce must adhere to the minimum waiting periods outlined by state law. By working with an experienced divorce attorney and considering alternatives to divorce, couples can navigate this difficult process with greater ease and reach a more favorable outcome.