No matter what state you and your partner reside in, the process of getting a divorce can be arduous and confusing. From beginning to end, the stress of getting a divorce can take an emotional and mental toll on the whole family.
At Berumen Law, we are specialists in the complexities of divorce proceedings in Colorado. Today, we’re taking a look at some of those complexities.
You Must Live in Colorado
First and foremost, Colorado requires that you must be a resident in the state before filing. Specifically, the state requires that at least one of the spouses has lived in Colorado for at least ninety days before filing for divorce.
Colorado is a No-Fault State
States across the country vary in whether a spouse may list a legal reason in filing for divorce. Some states allow for reporting of fault in divorce, such as for reasons of adultery. Most states in the U.S., however, are no-fault jurisdiction. Colorado is one of those no-fault jurisdictions.
In a no-fault jurisdiction, a spouse may not attribute fault to the other spouse. The only grounds that may be reported when filing for a divorce in Colorado is the “irretrievable breakdown” of a marriage, which means that there is no hope of the marriage returning to its previous state.
Colorado is an Equitable Property Jurisdiction
When you get a divorce, property that is owned by both spouses is separated differently depending on the type of marital property jurisdiction you are in. In a minority of states known as community property states, any property acquired during marriage is considered joint property unless it is an inheritance or a gift. This property is separated differently than in the majority of states known as equitable distribution jurisdictions, where property acquired in marriage can be separately owned and upon divorce, the court attempts to distribute all marital property equally between two spouses unless a different agreement is reached outside of court.
Colorado is one of these equitable distribution jurisdictions. In community property jurisdictions, property can be identified as marital and separate property. Under Colorado law, in fact, there is a presumption that property acquired during the marriage is marital unless proven to be separate property. C.R.S. 14-10-113 (3).
Marital property may be owned by a single spouse. but can be considered for the purposes of ensuring that each spouse gets an equal share of all marital property in divorce. Separate property, such as any property acquired by a single spouse through gift or inheritance, acquired after a decree of legal separation, or otherwise excluded by law, is not considered when the court considers equitable distribution.
Alimony, Also Known as Maintenance, is Available to Divorcing Spouses in Colorado
While there are an overwhelming number of factors to consider when in the midst of negotiating the amount of alimony that should be paid from one spouse to another, it is possible that divorcing spouses can come to terms with the amount of alimony (also known as maintenance) should be paid and how long those payments should be made.
Typically, in Colorado, the court can order that one spouse must pay alimony to the lower-earning spouse for a temporary amount of time following the finalization of the divorce proceedings. This amount is calculated by an income-based formula that determines the amount suitable to be paid out.
It is possible that the spouse may be able to argue that they are eligible for long-term alimony, but this involves the receiving spouse to prove that they do not have the funds, job skills, education, or health to support themselves.
There are plenty of other rules that can come as a surprise to you if you are, like most, unfamiliar with the intricacies of divorce and family law. If you are considering a divorce in Colorado, you should know what to expect every step along the way. Our divorce and family law specialists are here to help; contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.
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