Frequently Asked Questions: Family Law

How long does it take to get divorced?

In Colorado, the soonest a divorce can be granted is 91 days. Sometimes the parties use this period to resolve some or all of the divorce-related issues and are then able to submit a separation agreement, along with all of the other paperwork to the court. If the parties are not able to have an agreement in place by the 91-day mark, the length of the divorce process will be longer, depending on the caseload or docket of the county in which the parties are filing.


What are the legal requirements for getting a divorce or legal separation?

At least one of the parties must have been a resident of Colorado at least 91 days prior to the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation. In addition, one of the parties must attest that the marriage is irretrievably broken, which means there is no chance of reconciliation of the marriage. Because Colorado is a no-fault state, there is no need to show fault during the process.


Does Colorado recognize a common-law marriage?

Yes, Colorado does recognize a common-law marriage, which is established by showing the mutual consent or agreement of the parties to be husband and wife, followed by a mutual and open assumption of a marital relationship. Although a common-law marriage does not require any kind of a ceremony to be legitimate, cohabitation on its own is not enough to prove a common-law marriage.


What is a legal separation?

Legal separation means that the parties can live separately from each other and not be tied to the actions and obligations of the other party. This arrangement does not terminate the marriage. During a legal separation, the marital estate is divided, which means that the property and debts are separated between the parties, child support and spousal maintenance is awarded and parental responsibilities are determined. Six months after the Decree of Legal Separation is entered, either party can request that the legal separation be converted to a decree for dissolution of marriage.