- Colorado Law
The Court must wait at least 91 days from the filing of the Petition to enter a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage to acquire jurisdiction over the parties. The Court acquires jurisdiction after 91 days has lapsed, so long as the Respondent waived service, was personally served, or joined as a co-petitioner in the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This is regardless of whether the divorcing parties reach agreements on some, all, or none of the aspects of their divorce.
However, if a hearing is required to make some or all determinations, the process will take much longer than 92 days.
The parties have three different ways they can file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage:
- The parties can file together and act as Petitioner and Co-Petitioner;
- One spouse can file the divorce and have a neutral party (over the age of 18) serve the divorce pleadings to the other spouse or
- One spouse can file the divorce, and the spouse receiving the divorce pleadings may file a waiver of service, meaning they accept the documents instead of being served.
Divorces Are Uncontested Or Contested
An uncontested divorce is when the parties reach a full agreement on all aspects of their divorce after filing the Petition. If the parties agree on all aspects of their divorce, including division of marital assets and debts, spousal support, parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, and child support, and complete and submit all the necessary paperwork, the divorce can be completed relatively quickly and easily. In this case, the Court will likely enter a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage once the statutory period of 91 days has lapsed.
However, in some situations, a contested divorce can take up to nine months to a year to be finalized, or even longer. A contested divorce is when the parties are unable to come to an agreement on all or some aspects of their divorce, including but not limited to the division of marital assets and debts, spousal support, parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, and child support. It is encouraged that even if the parties cannot reach a full settlement on all aspects of their divorce, they work together to resolve some aspects of their divorce. Additionally, if any type of expert, such as an appraiser or a business valuator, is needed, further delays are expected. The more disagreements the parties may have, the longer it will take for the divorce to be finalized.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement shortly after filing the Petition, the Court will order the parties to attend mediation. The Court mandates mediation in the hope of reaching an amicable resolution between the parties. Even if the parties cannot reach a global resolution, the Court encourages the parties to work together to reach a resolution on any issues where agreement can be found. If no issues or only some issues are resolved during mediation, the Court will set a Permanent Orders hearing to address all outstanding issues. Depending on the number of unresolved issues, the Court will set a contested divorce matter for a half-day or a full-day hearing.
Talk to Attorney About Your Divorce
The divorce process can be confusing and scary. Helping you understand what is coming next and what steps are required is one of the services attorneys provide.
For more information, contact an experienced family law attorney at Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. today.