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Understanding the Ins and Outs of No-Fault Divorce in Colorado


Colorado is a "no-fault" divorce state. What does no-fault mean? Simply put, neither party needs to prove fault or wrongdoing to obtain a divorce in Colorado. This allows the parties to focus on resolving matters such as property division, support, child support, and parenting time, fairly and equitably.


So, what exactly does it mean in Colorado to have a no-fault divorce?


1. Grounds for Divorce: In other states, grounds must be proven to get a divorce. Such grounds can be adultery, abandonment, or cruelty. Fortunately, Colorado allows couples to dissolve their marriage simply by stating that it is irretrievably broken. This means that if one or both parties believe the marriage cannot be saved and there is no chance of reconciliation, they can divorce without assigning blame to either party.


2. Streamlined Process: Because there is no need to prove fault, the divorce process in Colorado is usually less contentious versus fault-based systems. This often results in quicker resolutions and reduced emotional stress for both parties involved, especially for the children of the marriage. 


3. Focus on Resolution: Rather than concentrating on blame, parties are encouraged to focus on resolving matters such as property division, spousal support, child support, and parenting time.  El Paso County requires divorcing couples to engage in mediation or alternative dispute resolution before going to a contested hearing. This requirement allows parties to have some say in their divorce rather than leaving it up to the court and mediation requires a mindset to proceed cooperatively. 


4. Equitable Distribution: Colorado is not a 50/50 property division state, but rather it is an equitable state meaning that the marital assets and debts are divided on what the court deems as fair, after considering several factors such as, but not limited to, each spouse's financial situation, contributions to the marriage, length of the marriage, and health of the parties.  Contribution to the marriage does not mean only financial. An equitable division may end up being a 50/50 division but there are certain circumstances where a 50/50 division is unfair.


5. Child-Centered Approach: When children are involved, the court's primary concern is considering what is in their best interests. There are factors the court must consider, some of which are the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the children, their community, and their educational and emotional needs. Parents are encouraged to create a parenting plan outlining parenting time and decision-making to promote stability for the children after the divorce and for the children to have frequent contact with each parent. 

 

The no-fault divorce system in Colorado is meant to help parties focus on practical matters in reaching an amicable resolution to their divorce. This provides a forward-looking approach rather than having to bring up the past.  It is the hope that couples, even during a stressful and emotional time, can focus on the divorce process with less acrimony and greater cooperation.

 

If you are considering divorce in Colorado Springs and have questions about how the no-fault system applies to you, do not hesitate to contact a qualified divorce attorney for guidance and support. Remember, you do not have to go through this process alone.





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