How to File for Divorce in Colorado

Price Family Law
Denver Family Law Attorney

A Colorado Divorce Attorney Can Help File for Divorce

Divorce is something that should never be taken lightly, as your future and that of your children are at stake. However, if the problems in your marriage have gotten to the point where you feel that divorce is your only option, you should make sure it is handled correctly from the start and avoid mistakes that can come back to haunt you.

Anyone filing for divorce has three basic options in Colorado:

  • Do-it-yourself (DIY). If your divorce situation is simple, with few shared assets and no children, you may be able to get the forms you need, fill them out yourself, and file them with the courts.
  • Online divorce. There are online divorce services that will provide forms and help you fill them out and may file them for a fee.
  • Get legal assistance. Having an experienced Colorado divorce attorney on your side to advocate for you, take care of all legal requirements and paperwork, and handle all negotiations with your spouse’s attorney will help make the process easier and avoid potential problems that could arise if something is done improperly. If your divorce situation is contentious, complicated by having high assets, businesses, and property, or there are issues with child custody and child and spousal support, a Denver high asset divorce attorney can help ensure the best resolution possible.

How do I start the divorce process in Colorado?

To start the divorce process in Colorado, your spouse or you must be domiciled in Colorado for a minimum of 91 days. You do not have to prove fault — according to Colorado law, (Colo. Rev. Stat. §14-10-110(1) (2022)) the only legal ground for divorce is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

If you are able to communicate civilly, you should come to an agreement with your spouse on as many issues as possible. If you can agree on every issue, you and your spouse may file for an uncontested divorce through Colorado’s streamlined procedure for joint divorce filing. This means you draft a settlement agreement expressing the terms on which you agree and file a joint petition for divorce. The settlement agreement must cover all the issues involved in ending your marriage, including property division, spousal support, and custody. If you have minor children, it’s essential to address parenting time and consult a child support lawyer about child support matters to ensure everything is handled correctly.

It is rare for divorcing spouses to agree on everything, and in most cases, there will be issues to resolve. In such situations, consulting a Denver divorce attorney can be crucial. One spouse must then file the divorce petition and serve it on their spouse, and then that spouse has 21 days to file a written response.

Steps to File for Divorce in Colorado

The following are the usual steps for filing for divorce in Colorado:

File the Initial Petition for Divorce

In Colorado, both parties — or one spouse — can file the petition. The basic initial forms you need will be the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation (JDF 1101) and the Case Information Sheet (JDF 1000). If filing for an uncontested divorce, you may complete and file the petition jointly (as “petitioner” and “co-petitioner”).

If the divorce is contested, the petitioning party must also get a Summons for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation (JDF 1102), which will be served on their spouse. The spouse will have to complete a response form (JDF 1103) within 21 days of receiving the summons.

Individual counties may have additional requirements, so check with your local court clerk.

Disclose Financial Information

During the 42-day period after the petition for divorce is served, both spouses must exchange financial information that includes their income, assets, retirement plans, bank accounts, real estate, debts, and monthly expenses.

The initial disclosures include information about income, assets (retirements, bank accounts, real estate, etc.), debts, and monthly expenses. Form 35.5 (JDF 1125) lists the documents that must be exchanged, in addition to the following forms:

  • a Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosures (JDF 1104)
  • a Sworn Financial Statement (JDF 1111), and
  • if applicable, Supporting Schedules for Assets (JDF 1111SS).

Attend the Initial Status Conference (ISC):

An initial status conference with the court will be scheduled. The ISC is the first appearance before the Court for both spouses and can be attended by attorneys. The Certificate of Compliance and the Financial statements are submitted, and the court will discuss any relevant issues and set dates for different steps in the divorce process.

The court might also be willing to hear requests for emergency relief or temporary orders, such as related to child and spousal support. If not, most courts will allow the setting of a formal temporary orders hearing to take place at a later date.

Temporary Orders Hearing

If there is a temporary orders hearing, the purpose is to provide a measure of financial security to one of the spouses or to establish a custody and visitation routine while the divorce case is pending. Many individuals seek visitation legal help during this phase to ensure their rights are protected. The temporary orders end at the time final divorce orders are issued. The temporary orders end at the time final divorce orders are issued.


Discovery is for the purpose of making sure all relevant information is submitted. Discovery may be through written requests for documents and other information or through interrogatories, which are questions answered under oath. Information obtained in discovery can be used to come up with a settlement or used during the trial.

Divorce Mediation:

If there are any contested issues involved in the divorce, the Court may require that mediation take place before the final hearing. The hope is that the parties can reach an agreement and avoid trial and court intervention.

Final Divorce Hearing:

When couples still can’t agree, contested issues will be heard and decided on by the Court at a hearing for permanent orders, or trial. At a trial, the judge hears evidence from lawyers for both spouses and will decide on how all financial and child issues will be resolved. Trials can be complex, stressful, time-consuming, and expensive, so it is best to make every effort to settle the divorce issue before going to trial.

Dissolution of Marriage:

At the conclusion of the permanent orders hearing, a decree of dissolution of marriage and substantive orders, such as support orders will be entered. You will be divorced.

Call Our Denver Divorce Attorney for Help

While it may seem less expensive to represent yourself, hiring a divorce attorney has many benefits when trying to navigate the Colorado divorce system, and can save you money in the long run.

At Price Family Law, our experienced divorce attorney spend the time needed to learn about what you want for your life post-divorce and the future you would like to see for yourself and for your children. We provide an objective viewpoint and calming presence during what is often an emotional and stressful time in your life. Our family court lawyers will manage the administrative and legal process on your behalf, explaining – in easy-to-understand language – exactly what is happening, with the support of an Attorney specializing in family law in Denver, Colorado. We keep you apprised throughout the legal process. When we represent you, your goals become ours and we work tirelessly to achieve an outcome that is best for you and your family.

Delaying can only make your divorce situation more difficult, so contact Price Family Law today at 720-615-1750 to get the help and guidance you need.

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    Attorney Trista Price

    Trista McElhaney Price is a founding partner at Price Family Law, LLC. She specializes in high-asset divorce cases and legal matters involving complex business and financial issues as well as complex custody matters involving domestic violence, substance abuse issues, and mental health issues. Read Full Bio.