The Divorce Process in Colorado
Establishing the grounds for divorce will be the first step in the divorce process. Colorado is a “no-fault” state which means that the grounds for divorce are not difficult to establish. The person filing can state that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken.” The state can consider fault-based arguments for the division of property or spousal support, however.
The necessary steps of a divorce will depend on the specifics of your case, but there is a general procedure that will take place. Your attorney can guide you through the process and provide an explanation of what you need to do at each stage, which is why it is important to work with a knowledgeable and trustworthy divorce lawyer.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
The bare minimum cost for a divorce includes the filing fees. In order to get divorced, the two spouses may file the petition together and share the filing fee or one spouse can file the petition and the other can file a response. The petition is a request for a divorce and gives the court the information it needs to move forward with the divorce. The response allows the other spouse to correct any misstated information and object to the information in the petition. The cost to file a petition is $230 and the cost to file the response is $116. The court has resources for parties who cannot afford the filing fee.
Divorces are complicated, and spouses often do need the assistance of a professional to help them sort out all of the issues. The court will order parties to attend mediation with a professional if they are unable to resolve all issues on their own before the court will hold a hearing to decide on these issues for the parties. Issues include the division of assets and debts, spousal support, parenting time, decision-making responsibility for the children, child support, who will take the family pets, etc. The cost of mediation ranges, from the Colorado Office of Dispute Resolution, which bills at $75 per hour per party ($150/hour per hour total) to private mediators who set their own rates and generally range from $200 to $350 per hour, to retired judges who charge around $300 per hour and up. The Colorado Office of Dispute Resolution allows for parties who cannot afford mediation to apply for reduced rates as do some private mediators.
An experienced family law attorney can handle all aspects of a divorce and guide you through the process. Attorneys generally ask for a retainer, then bill by the hour for the work that they do. You will receive a bill monthly for this work and most attorneys expect that you will pay your bills in full each month and will issue a refund of the retainer at the end of the case. The hourly rate for attorneys in Northern Colorado ranges from $200 an hour to $400 an hour and typical retainers range from $3,000 to $10,000 but may vary due to the complexity of the case
Divorce Statistics to Know
According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of married couples will divorce. The rates for second and subsequent marriages are higher. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of divorce have been declining over the last 20 years. In 2020, 22,592 petitions for divorce were filed in Colorado, according to the Colorado Judicial Branch.