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Basic information about divorces

Any Colorado resident who is interested in dissolving a marriage may be curious about how divorce works. The process can be confusing, so it is important for individuals to gather some basic information before getting started. Divorce is the legal procedure that severs a marital relationship. The judge declares that the parties are no longer legally bound to each other, divides any jointly-owned property, determines custody of any minor children born from the marriage and enters appropriate child support or spousal maintenance orders.

Before a spouse may file for divorce, it is necessary to establish grounds. In Colorado, all fault-based grounds for divorce have been abolished. The only basis for divorce is that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which is a no-fault ground. Typically, only one spouse need testify that the marriage is broken beyond repair.

If the couple is able to agree on all relevant issues, they may file an agreement for the judge's approval. If the spouses are not able to agree, the judge often sends them to mediation. If the parties still cannot agree, the case may be set for a hearing where each spouse may choose to present evidence, call witnesses and argue to the judge why a particular decision should be reached.

A family law attorney may be able to help with the mechanics of divorce, including filing the petition with the courthouse and serving notice of the suit on the other spouse. The attorney may also assist in the negotiation of a settlement agreement that would be comprehensive and cover property division as well as child and spousal support issues.

Source: U.S. Air Force Academy, "Colorado Divorce Law", September 09, 2014

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