Understanding your Colorado divorce will make it easier to navigate the legal proceedings. In this guide, our Colorado Springs divorce attorneys explain the most important topics you need to know about getting a divorce in Colorado.
Grounds for a Colorado Divorce
Colorado is a "no-fault" divorce state, meaning that there does not have to be proof of any wrongdoing by either spouse for the divorce to be awarded. The only ground for divorce is that the marriage is "irretrievably broken," which is commonly known as irreconcilable differences. Only one spouse needs to testify that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is no hope for reconciliation.
While spouses cannot claim grounds of adultery, domestic violence, or other accusation, the court will still listen to the testimony if it is relevant to the divorce case. Generally, courts will examine issues relating to finances like one spouse wasting money even though they are demanding a large amount of spousal support.
Colorado is an equitable distribution state, meaning property division does not have to be equal, but rather it should be divided in a way that is fair for both parties. The court will take into account several factors when they decide how to split property, including:
Each party's contribution of property in the marriage
The value of the property
Each individual's economic standing
Cost of each spouse's separate property
All property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, except inheritances and gifts. Marital property is subject to division in a divorce. Marital property includes houses, businesses, investments, pension plans, debts, and 401(k) accounts.
In Colorado, child custody laws are complex and depend on several factors. First, Colorado does not use the term custody. Instead, custody is referred to as parental responsibilities, which refer to parenting time and decision making. Parenting time is the physical custody of a child, and decision making is the legal custody of a child.
When courts make decisions about parental responsibilities, any ruling made must be in the best interest of the child. This means that the custody decision is the best for the child's safety and their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Factors that can affect how a court decides what is in the child's best interest can include:
The wishes of the parents
The wishes of the child
The child's interaction with other family members such as siblings
The child's adjustment to his or her home or school
The physical and mental health of the child and the parents
The ability of the parents to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and their other parent
The distance between each parent's home as it relates to practical considerations of parenting time
The ability of each parent to place the needs of the child above their own
Past patterns of involvement between the child and the parents
Evidence that each parent can cooperate and make decisions together
Any other factors the court considers relevant
Alimony, or spousal maintenance, requires one spouse to pay the other spouse a certain amount of money for living expenses after a divorce. In Colorado, judges cannot use fault to determine spousal maintenance payments. However, they will consider the following factors:
The length of the marriage
The ability of the higher-earning spouse to pay support
Standard of living during the marriage
Emotional condition of each spouse
Age of each spouse
The health of each spouse
The capability of the spouse seeking alimony to earn an income in the future
To calculate spousal maintenance, Colorado has several guidelines. If the couple's annual gross income is $75,000 or less, then the amount of alimony will be 40 percent of the higher income party's monthly adjusted gross income, minus 50 percent of the lower party's monthly adjusted gross income. The court will also consider any pre-existing spousal support or child support payments when they calculate the amount of support.
Alimony is not permanent and is viewed more as a way to give the receiving spouse time to get back on their feet. However, in general, the longer the marriage, the more time spousal maintenance will be paid.
Speak to a Divorce Attorney Today
Colorado has complex laws regarding divorce. To ensure your rights are protected throughout the process, enlist the help of an experienced Colorado Springs divorce attorney. At Drexler Law, we will examine your goals to assist you during this challenging transition.
If you need help with your divorce, call us today at (719) 259-0050.