Colorado Springs Divorce Lawyers
Guiding Clients Through the Divorce Process in EL PASO COUNTY, CO
Ending your marriage will likely be one of the most difficult decisions you will make in your life, and going through a divorce is confusing, challenging, and stressful. Aviso Law represents men and women in all types of family law cases, including divorce. At our firm, our experienced Colorado Springs divorce attorneys will guide you through the divorce process providing you with strong, thoughtful, diligent advice to protect you and your family’s interests.
Continue reading to learn more about divorce in Colorado. You can also read our blog "What to Do Before Filing for Divorce" for more information and next steps.
Even if the divorce is uncontested and the parties are in agreement on all the issues, there are difficult, complex decisions to make regarding children and property. The advice and guidance of an experienced divorce attorney can greatly improve your chances of achieving a successful outcome. Having an attorney on your side early in the process will ensure your rights and interests are protected. The Colorado Springs divorce attorneys at Aviso Law can work with divorcing clients who are not necessarily fighting with their spouse to help craft a fair agreement to keep the divorce amicable.
The typical contested divorce process in Colorado can be complex, and the following is a general outline of the steps involved in a divorce with children:
You or your spouse must have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days before you may file for divorce. In order for a Colorado court to enter any orders related to parental responsibilities (custody), the minor child must have lived in Colorado for at least 182 days prior to you filing your divorce case.
Initial Document Filing
The initial documents to file for divorce in Colorado include a case information sheet, petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, and summons for dissolution of marriage or legal separation. The court fee to file for divorce is $236.
Serving Initial Documents
After filing the initial documents with the court, you must arrange to serve the opposing party with the case information sheet, petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, summons for dissolution of marriage or legal Separation, or waive service.
Opposing Party Response
After service, the opposing party will have 21 days to file a response or 35 days if out of the state.
Initial Status Conference
After the case is filed, the parties are required to attend the initial status conference. Every judicial district sets procedures for scheduling the initial status conference. The petitioner (the person who filed) is responsible for scheduling the initial status conference and must schedule it as soon as possible but no later than 42 days after the filing of the petition. Generally, the initial status conference is informal and done with a family court facilitator instead of a judge. During the initial status conference, the family court facilitator will provide dates and deadlines the parties must comply with. This is generally known as a case management order, and it provides a way forward for the remainder of the case.
Prior to any temporary order hearing, the court generally will require the parties to participate in a settlement conference. At the settlement conference, the parties will attempt to come to an agreement on a temporary parenting time schedule, the payment of certain bills, temporary child support, and temporary spousal maintenance. The settlement conferences involve both parties and counsel.
Temporary Orders Hearing
Frequently the parties cannot agree on a temporary parenting time schedule, the payment of certain bills, temporary child support, and temporary spousal maintenance and require a temporary order hearing. Temporary orders are interim orders that are in place until the parties can come to a more permanent agreement or until the parties attend final orders. Temporary orders may be requested for payment of debts, use of property, spousal maintenance, parenting time, and child support. Many jurisdictions specify in their case management order the procedures concerning filing for temporary orders.
Generally, prior to the parties attending the final orders hearing, the court will require the parties to attend mediation. Mediation is done through a neutral third party, and the parties attempt to settle all the disputed issues.
If the parties cannot reach a full and final agreement, the parties will be required to attend the final orders, where all the disputed issues will be litigated and decided by the judge.
In the state of Colorado, the minimum time from start to finish is 91 days. However, the length of any divorce will depend in large part on the level of disagreement between the parties.
Is Colorado a No-Fault State?
Colorado is a “no-fault” state; therefore, one does not need to show a specific reason for a divorce, such as infidelity or abuse.
What Is the Difference Between Legal Separation & Divorce?
In the state of Colorado, the process to obtain a legal separation is the same as outlined in the divorce process. The primary advantage and difference of obtaining a legal separation rather than a divorce is that the parties are still technically married and, as a result may be eligible to remain on the same health insurance and other insurance plans and receive military benefits. Also, many people pursue a legal separation rather than a divorce due to religious preferences. The couple is still married and, therefore cannot get remarried. However, after filing a petition for legal separation, either party can ask the court to grant a divorce instead of a legal separation. In addition, after a decree of legal separation has been issued, either party can convert it to a decree of dissolution (divorce) after six months have passed.
Colorado Common Law Marriage
In this day and age, many individuals find themselves living with their significant other for years and have intertwined their property and finances. However, just because you live with your significant other does not necessarily mean you are common law married. Generally, in Colorado, the court will determine whether you are common law married.
Some of the factors the Colorado court will consider are if the parties have:
- Mutually agreed to be married
- Openly held themselves out to the public as married
- Filed joint federal or state tax returns
- Listed the other party as a spouse on insurance forms
- Combined finances and/or bank accounts
- Purchased property together
Our Colorado Springs divorce attorneys at Aviso can assist you in determining your rights if you believe you are common law married.
Domestic Violence Allegations Affecting Custody
Although Colorado is a no-fault state, domestic violence can be a critical factor in determining custody (i.e., allocation of parental responsibilities). In making a determination for the best interests of the child, the court is required to give “paramount consideration” to the safety of the child and the abused party when making a determination regarding parenting time and decision-making if domestic abuse is proven. Unfortunately, false allegations of domestic violence are often claimed to gain an advantage in a divorce case. You must defend against these allegations because they could have a substantial impact on the ability to interact with your children. Many times parties will also seek a restraining order in order to gain an advantage in custody disputes. The imposition of a restraining order can have a significant impact on a divorce case and must be vigorously defended. At Aviso Law, our Colorado Springs divorce attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in domestic violence cases.
Civil Protection Order & Permanent Restraining Order
Protection and restraining orders are used to prevent domestic violence, child abuse, assault, stalking, and harassment and are often necessary; however, when a marriage or relationship ends, false allegations of domestic violence or abuse are sometimes made to gain an advantage in a divorce or child custody case. At Aviso Law, we pride ourselves on providing aggressive prosecution and defense of restraining orders, and our divorce lawyers in Colorado Springs have the experience, skill, and client-focused approach needed to make decisions that benefit you and your family.
How Does The Process Work?
The process: A person seeking a protection/restraining order must first apply to the court for a temporary order, which will set a return date for an evidentiary hearing to determine if the order should be made permanent. The temporary restraining order is made on the basis of the accuser’s testimony in a one-sided or ex parte hearing before a judge. The accused party is not informed of the hearing and does not have the right to be heard. They will have that opportunity at the later evidentiary hearing, which will usually take place within one to three weeks. The evidentiary hearing is the critical hearing for the accused party and should not be taken lightly. The person seeking the restraining order must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the accused party has committed acts constituting grounds for issuance of a civil protection order and that, unless restrained, they will continue to commit such acts or acts designed to intimidate or retaliate against the protected person. The person seeking the protective order does not have to show imminent danger from the accused party.
If the protection order becomes permanent, it can have serious and potentially career-ending consequences. The advice and help of a skilled, aggressive attorney at this point in the process is crucial to avoid unwanted marks on your personal history and career.
Protective Orders For Military Members
For the military member, the consequences of a permanent protection order can jeopardize their military career. The Lautenberg Amendment, in part, attempts to prevent those convicted of domestic violence from owning or possessing guns or ammunition. If a military member receives a permanent protection order, it could result in the military member not being allowed to carry a weapon and may subject them to administrative separation. Our skilled Colorado Springs divorce attorneys have spent years learning the ins and outs of the legal system and have the drive and knowledge to effectively represent military members in these and other difficult situations.
Call Our Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney Today
If you are looking to file for divorce in El Paso County, then do not hesitate to reach out to our divorce attorneys in Colorado Springs. At Aviso Law, we provide experienced legal guidance throughout the divorce process. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Contact Aviso Law today to get started with our Colorado Springs divorce attorneys.
Every attorney will tell you they put their clients first. That is true for Aviso Law but it’s how we go about it that sets up apart. We understand the difference between being prepared and aggressive in courtrooms, while being understanding and pragmatic in client meetings. We believe in being realistic as well as easy to work with through all the phases of your case, both in and out of court; this saves you money and time while still receiving the service you deserve with the goal of achieving desired results.
To us, success isn’t measured by the years we’ve spent behind a desk but by the careers we’ve built, the contacts we’ve made, and the thousands of clients we’ve served to protect jobs, families, education, and reputations. We developed our careers in Colorado’s military and civil courts, successfully defending clients from all walks of life. We come highly rated by our clients and have received professional recognition for our work.
Breaking the Mold
We’re not your typical law firm. We don’t wear fancy suits (unless we have to in court) and we don’t hide behind big imposing desks. Reflective on our military roots, we strive to serve. We understand the legal process can be threatening and worrisome, which is why we work with our clients to get results. We aim to be respectful, diligent, and cost-effective while practicing the highest standards of legal representation.