Colorado Divorce Timeline
Though the Colorado divorce timeline varies from couple to couple due the complexity of the case and delays, continuances, full dockets and other issues related to the court, the divorce process timeline has three stages that every divorce must go through:
- Preliminary Stage
- Interim Stage
- Final Stage
During the Preliminary Stage, a summons and petition are filed with the court system, and your spouse is considered “served” with divorce papers. Under Colorado law, you have a minimum of 91 days between the time your spouse is served until an official divorce decree can be granted. Once your spouse has been served, he/she has to file a response with the court within 21 days; if your spouse was served in a state other than Colorado, he/she has 35 days to file a response. During this time, you and your attorney will inventory your assets, organize your financial documents, and decide upon new living arrangements for you and your children.
During the Interim Stage, your financial disclosures (mandated by the court) are due 42 days after the response. If no response was given to the court by your spouse, you then have 40 days after the petition was filed. The Interim Stage is a difficult one because there is a lot to plan for during this period. During this time, the decision of where to place the children has often not been made, and temporary orders hearings are sometimes required. Financial discovery will often take place during the Interim Stage, and parenting classes are sometimes required. By the Interim Stage, you should have a qualified accountant or financial adviser on your side to see that your finances are handled properly and in the best interest of you and your children.
In the Final Stage of the divorce process, final negotiations will take place with your spouse regarding finances and parenting plans. If you and your spouse are unable to reach agreements, mediation may be necessary, or you may have to appear before a judge for a permanent orders hearing. The most critical factor impacting how long a divorce takes to complete is whether or not the couple can agree on financial and parenting issues. If you are looking to save time, money and stress in your divorce, do your best to maintain a spirit of cooperation between you and your spouse throughout the process.
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