Getting a Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Colorado (CO)

You can get a do-it-yourself divorce without an attorney in Colorado.

The following are the basics about a Colorado divorce.  At the end I set out when you can get a divorce on your own with hiring a lawyer.

Divorce Generally

The specifics of getting a divorce in the USA depends on the state in which you wish to file for divorce.  There are many similarities for getting a divorce among most states, yet each state has specific requirements and court filing fees.

One state-specific provision for getting a divorce is the residency requirement for filing in a specific state.

Divorce Residency Requirements in Colorado

In Colorado, the spouse filing for divorce must have lived in Colorado for at least ninety days.  Then there is a ninety day waiting period before a divorce order is issued AFTER the other spouse (called the responding spouse) is served with divorce papers.

Grounds for Divorce in CO

Some states still have “fault-based” divorces – which means a filing spouse can place “blame” in a sense on the other spouse for getting a divorce.  For example, cruelty or drunkenness is a fault-based ground for divorce.

However, Colorado does not have “fault” grounds as an option when filing for divorce.  The only basis for filing divorce is the over-arching “no-fault” ground of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage simply means the marriage is over and there is no chance for reconciliation.  It places no blame on either spouse.

How Does Colorado Deal with Child Custody?

The test, if the Court is to decide, is determining “the best interests of the child/ren.”

However, spouses can come to their own agreement about child custody and even arrange joint custody (where both spouses have a say in the weighty decisions of the child).  If the Court considers the agreement not being in the best interests of the child, the child custody agreement may be revised.

With regard to day-to-day custody of a child, Colorado Courts consider several factors such as:

  • the wishes of the parents
  • the wishes of the child (if older)
  • closeness of a child’s relationship with siblings
  • whether child abuse took/takes place
  • the child’s status quo (school, home, routine – Courts don’t like to unnecessarily uproot children and force a major change on a child’s living situation)
  • whether access will be available and frequent by the non-physical-custodial parent.  For example, if there’s evidence a parent will withold access to the other parent, Colorado Courts view this as a reason not to give day-to-day care and control to the withholding parent.

How Much is Child Support?

Colorado, like most other states and provinces, have child support guidelines that determine child support based on the incomes of the parents and the child-related rexpenses.

Mediation May Be Required

If the parties don’t resolve all divorce issues, a Colorado Court may order the parties to attend a mediation.  Mediation can attempt to resolve most divorce issues and is an attempt to avoid a trial.

Is a Do-It-Yourself Divorce Possible in Colorado?

Absolutely.  As long as all issues are agreed upon, the spouses can prepare the divorce documents and file them with a Colordo Court.  Even if all the issues are not resolved, the parties can avoid trial and even hiring a divorce lawyer by hiring a mediator to help with unresolved issues.