Colorado Divorce Attorney
Don't Face Difficult Family Law Issues Alone
Who gets the house? Who gets the car? How are the parenting rights and responsibilities divided? At Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C., we will fight to protect your rights. Backed by 30 years of experience in the field of family law and thousands of divorce, child custody, paternity and domestic violence cases, we have the skills and knowledge to safeguard your future. From simple division of property cases to complex property and business ownership cases, we have the skills and commitment to help you through the procedures for dissolution. In cases including children, we understand the concerns and are able to help you protect your children's best interests.
Why Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.?
- Focused on favorable results in a timely manner
- Hundreds of Colorado families helped
- Proven litigators and negotiators
- Emphasis on close client communication
- 30 years serving men and women across the state
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.
Understanding Colorado's Divorce Process
Dissolution of Marriage Petition
If one person is filing against the other, they will hire a process server to deliver the petition to the spouse. If both parties are in agreement with the divorce, they can file a joint petition.
Within 42 days of filing, both parties with their lawyers will meet with a judge for the “Initial Status Conference.” This is an informal meeting outside of the courtroom so that both sides can identify the major issues of the case.
Rule 16.2 Disclosure
Within 42 days after service of the petition or post-decree filing, both spouses must exchange financial information. This includes bank accounts, retirement information, debts, and assets.
Temporary Orders Hearing
Both sides can request a “Temporary Orders” hearing to determine temporary financial and parenting time orders. This will stay in effect either until the divorce is settled or goes to trial.
Negotiation and Mediation
Both parties will negotiate to attempt to reach agreement on all issues. If agreement cannot be reached, the parties will attend mediation. If agreement can be made through negotiation or mediation, it will be submitted to the court.
Permanent Orders Hearing
In the case that you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement, the case will enter a Permanent Orders hearing. A judge will hear evidence from both sides and come to a decision.
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
Interesting Divorce Statistics & FAQ
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.
How many divorces happen in Colorado each year?
In 2020, the Colorado Judicial Branch saw 22,592 divorce petitions overall, which is more than 60 petitions filed each day. If you’re thinking of filing for divorce, then know you are in no way alone!
What percentage of marriages end in divorce?
The American Psychological Association estimates that 40% to 50% of marriages end in divorce, with noticeable variations among age groups. Most divorce petitions cite only irreconcilable differences.
Are divorces happening more often?
No, it appears that divorcing is becoming less common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted a decline in divorce rates since 2000. This could be partially caused by fewer new marriages in younger generations.
How much does it cost to file for divorce in Colorado?
The cost of divorce varies based on a divorce case’s complexity. Straightforward, uncontested divorces could cost a few thousand dollars to conclude. A contested divorce that needs to go to court multiple times could cost much more.
Who can file for divorce in Colorado?
Residents of Colorado for more than ninety days may file for the dissolution of their marriage. There is no required period of separation from your spouse prior to being able to file. If there are children, they need to have been residents of Colorado for more than six months prior to filing a case if Colorado is to have jurisdiction on custody issues. If one party or the children reside in another state, you may want to discuss where it is best to file a case among different jurisdictions.
Do you need a reason to file for divorce in Colorado?
Colorado is a “no-fault” divorce state, which allows you to file a petition for divorce without the consent of your spouse. You also do not need to prove your reason for wanting a divorce, so you can simply say that you don’t want to continue the marriage and the court will accept it.
Can you get an annulment in Colorado?
You can seek to have your marriage declared invalid under certain conditions instead of filing for divorce; for example, if you were married fraudulently, while you were under duress, or while you were unable to give consent to it. In some cases, there are short time limits on when you can file for this relief.
Have Questions? Contact Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.
If you have questions about the divorce process, we can give you all the guidance you need as you make this life-changing decision. We will help you remain calm so that you can make legally sound and strategic decisions. Our mission is to equip you with everything you need to start the next chapter of your life.
Protecting Your Interests & Rights
Whether you are dealing with a contested or an uncontested divorce, we have the tools and skills required to protect your rights and interests during the divorce process. Our divorce lawyers have proven trial skills and an impressive track record of success. Should your case need to go to trial, you can feel confident in knowing you are being represented by a reputable law firm.
In addition, we can assist you with other divorce-related issues such as:
If you have a quick question about probate law, this frequently asked questions list might have the answer. Please feel free to give it a quick review. If you have further questions please call (720) 491-3117. We look forward to seeing how we can help!
Do I need to prove the reason for the divorce?
You do not need to prove any grounds for divorce in Colorado. The Court will not ask you to describe why you are getting a divorce. The spouse filing for divorce just needs to tell the court that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” There is no need to prove that there was infidelity, abuse, or gross financial mismanagement in order to get a divorce, though those issues may impact some of the issues to be settled or determined in the divorce case.
How is parenting time split by Colorado family law courts?
The court, by default, assumes that a child benefits the most from spending time with each parent and that both parents should be able to participate in decision-making on behalf of the child equally. The Court orders specific parenting plans based on the best interests of the child, and the circumstances of the parties determines the best schedule.
Do mothers get priority in child custody orders?
Neither mothers nor fathers have priority in child custody cases. The Court uses the best interests of the child as a guide to make orders concerning the child. The Court prioritizes the child’s needs over the parents’ needs.
What is marital property in a divorce?
All assets and debts accumulated while married are presumed to be marital property. There are a few exceptions, including inheritances and gifts. However, even inheritances or gifts can become marital property if they are used in certain ways, such as purchasing a joint asset. During a divorce, the court will to divide all marital property equitably. Equitable distribution is based on what is found to be fair, not necessarily equal.
How is paternity established?
Paternity can be established in three ways in Colorado. First, paternity is automatically assigned to the man who is married to a woman when she gives birth unless he denies paternity at the time of birth. Second, paternity can be voluntarily assigned if both parents agree. Last, a court order can assign paternity, such as in a contentious divorce, after a paternity test and analysis of the child’s relationship with each possible father is conducted.
What a wonderful firm to work with. Our family will forever be grateful to them and our wonderful attorney, Stephanie Fournier. If you need an excellent firm to take amazing care of your family's needs, then this is the group to go with!