Asking how long it takes to get a divorce in Colorado is like asking how long it will take you to drive to Denver from here in Colorado Springs. If there’s no traffic and it’s a bright and sunny day, it should be a relatively quick shot up I-25. However, if it’s rush hour, a semi has jackknifed in the middle of the highway, or there are white-out conditions, it could take hours longer.
How long a Colorado divorce takes to complete similarly depends on a number of factors that will influence whether the process is smooth and relatively quick or whether it goes on for months and is filled with tense arguments and lengthy disputes.
After a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed with the court and served on the non-filing spouse, a minimum of 90 days must pass under Colorado law before a Final Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage can be entered. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your divorce will be over on the 91st day, but it could be if both spouses have reached agreement on the major issues (property division, maintenance, etc.), those issues are relatively simple, and the couple has no children. This is often referred to as an “uncontested divorce” and is the divorce equivalent of that traffic-free commute.
If, however, the parties fiercely disagree, if the martial assets are significant and complicated, and if there are children involved, the process can take a lot longer. Disputes about property valuation, custody and visitation, and maintenance and child support can take months to resolve. The parties are required to make full disclosures about assets and liabilities, but those can become the basis of even more disputes if one party believes the other spouse is not being truthful or is hiding assets.
The parties may try to resolve their ongoing disputes by entering into mediation. While this can add more time to the divorce process, it could ultimately result in a quicker resolution than a trial if it is successful in getting the parties to reach an agreement.
If the parties can’t ultimately reach a negotiated settlement of all disputed issues, then a trial will need to be held. Preparing for a hard-fought trial takes time, the trial itself could take weeks, and both parties are at the mercy of the court’s busy schedule in terms of when the trial will actually begin.
Not all divorces are the same and not all divorces take the same amount of time to complete. But an experienced divorce lawyer can help you navigate your way through your divorce process as efficiently as possible so you can reach your destination and move forward with your life sooner rather than later.