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Divorces can be emotionally charged and difficult to navigate, even when both spouses agree the marriage is at an end. But if you and your spouse can agree to terms, an uncontested divorce could avoid a potentially contentious process and may allow you both to move on with your lives in an amicable way.
The Colorado divorce attorneys at Halligan LLC have extensive experience handling uncontested divorces and can help you get through this process as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Call us today at (720) 608-2361 or contact us online for a consultation.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
A divorce is uncontested when both spouses agree upon all issues that must be decided before a Divorce Decree is entered. Before a divorce can be finalized, the following issues must be resolved: child support, child custody/parenting time/decision making, attorney fees, spousal support, as well as the division of marital property (marital assets and debts). If both you and your spouse can reach an agreement regarding every issue, then your divorce would be uncontested.
Do You Qualify for an Uncontested Divorce?
The first step to qualifying for an uncontested divorce is to meet the Colorado’s requirements for a divorce of any kind, which include:
- At least one spouse must have been a resident of Colorado for more than 90 days before filing for divorce (with limited exceptions).
- Any children must have resided in Colorado for at least six months before you can file for divorce (with limited exceptions), if you want the CO court to enter orders regarding the children.
- The marriage is irretrievably broken.
All divorces begin as contested divorces. For a divorce to become uncontested, both spouses must sign a final written agreement resolving all outstanding issues, including:
- Property division
- Spousal support
- Allocation of parental responsibilities and child support, if applicable
A court will not approve an agreement until both spouses have filed their sworn financial statements, which itemize each spouse’s income, assets, expenditures, and debts. Furthermore, if there are minor children involved, both parents must attend a state-mandated parenting class.
If possible, the divorcing spouses should consider filing jointly to get the process started, at which point lawyers for both sides can work on financial disclosures, negotiating terms, and finalizing the divorce agreement.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Colorado
The only thing that separates an uncontested divorce from a contested one is that the spouses involved agree on all terms necessary to finalize the divorce and have signed a final agreement to that effect. In fact, all divorces are contested divorces until their outstanding points of contention are resolved via a written agreement signed by both parties
After you’ve determined that you meet all of the requirements for a divorce, you’ll need to file a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage in the applicable court stating that you are seeking a divorce from your spouse. If the divorce is indeed a mutual decision between you and your spouse, the specifics of which will go uncontested by either party, then you may file the petition jointly as co-petitioners. Submitting this petition begins the mandatory 90-day waiting period, during which the divorce cannot be finalized.
Next, you and your spouse will need to sign a separation agreement addressing issues like maintenance (alimony), division of marital property, and division of debt. If you have any minor children, you will both need to sign a parenting plan establishing custody, visitation, and child support. An experienced Colorado divorce attorney can draft these documents on your behalf so that there are no unforeseen surprises that hinder the uncontested divorce process.
Once you have signed the separation agreement and parenting plan and the mandatory 90-day waiting period has elapsed, you may file an Affidavit for Entry of Decree Without Appearance of the Parties, which allows you to finalize your uncontested divorce without appearing in court. In order to do so, both spouses must have attorneys or there must be no minor children at issue. If there are minor children and one or both of the spouses lacks legal counsel, you will need to appear in court for a hearing to determine that both spouses understand to what they are agreeing.
Should disagreements crop up at any stage of the uncontested divorce process, you should contact a divorce lawyer in Colorado immediately. Doing so will protect your legal rights and expedite the divorce process if it become contested.
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?
You may assume that an uncontested divorce is a cut-and-dry process that you and your spouse can complete on your own. However, you could still greatly benefit from having an attorney assist you throughout the process. A dedicated attorney can ensure the correct and appropriate paperwork is filed with the courts in a timely fashion, advocate for your needs throughout the process, and ensure that no surprises prevent your divorce from being finalized after the 91-day waiting period has elapsed.
Furthermore, an experienced attorney can recognize any potential disagreements ahead of time, and prevent them from derailing what should otherwise be a smooth and mutually acceptable divorce process.
How Could Halligan LLC Help Me?
Halligan LLC is committed to helping people during some of the most challenging periods in their lives. That is why we are proud to represent clients with a wide range of family law matters, including all manners of divorce. We know how difficult this process can be, and we understand that issues regarding the division of property, spousal maintenance, and children especially can be both emotionally delicate and legally complex.
Our experienced and compassionate Colorado divorce attorneys are prepared to help you negotiate an uncontested divorce that reaches a satisfactory conclusion in a timely fashion. To find out how Halligan LLC can help you during your uncontested divorce, call us today at (720) 608-2361 or contact us online.