The only reason a person must give for seeking a divorce is that the parties have “irreconcilable differences”. This is called “no fault”. Infidelity or desertion no longer need be asserted as a reason for divorce, nor are they factors in analysis of your case.
Both parties may not be represented by the same attorney.
A mediator is a neutral third party who works with both parties. Mediators may assist parties in preparing court forms and they may give information about the law. A mediator may not give legal advice to either of the parties.
If you cannot get your case settled more than 21 days before your hearing, you are required to participate in mediation. The Court encourages parties to develop their own agreements rather than seek Court intervention. There is a general belief that agreements made between the parties themselves are more satisfactory to the parties than decisions a Court imposes. The Judge only has a few hours at best to hear all your information and arguments and untangle years of marriage and parenting.
The majority of cases settle out of court or at mediation. The Court will generally accept agreements you reach on your own, unless the Court finds that the agreements are grossly unfair to either party.
Each party is required to take a court-certified Parenting Class. You and your spouse not need attend the same parenting class.
Most of the forms necessary to file and manage your divorce or legal separation can be found on the Supreme Court’s website. This site also provides an option to calculate child support and maintenance: www.courts.state.co.us
The earliest date the Court will issue a final decree of dissolution or legal separation is 90 days from the date of filing or service, whichever is later.
Divorce and legal separation follow exactly the same process and require the same financial disclosures. The only difference is that at the end of the Legal Separation process parties are still married. But, their assets and debts will be divided, parenting time established, maintenance and child support determined.
There is no particular length of time for co-habitation in order to be considered common law married. However, co-habitation is one element of a common law marriage. The other element that must be established to make a determination of common law marriage is that you must hold yourselves out to the community as married. Some examples of “holding yourselves out to the community as married” are:
Placing the other party on your health or life insurance and referring to them as your spouse;
Having a joint child take the last name of the Father;
Writing your Christmas cards (or the like) and signing them as “Mr. and Mrs.”