Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)

Civil

Divorce is the legal process to end a marriage. In Colorado, divorce is called “dissolution of marriage.” One spouse must have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days before filing for divorce.

The person who files (asks the court) for the divorce is known as Petitioner. The other person is known as the Respondent. If two spouses ask for a divorce together, they are known as Petitioner and Co-Petitioner.

In a divorce case the court can resolve different things, usually things related to property and children.  Learn more about issues related to child custody (Allocation of Parental Responsibilities) here. Property issues in a divorce involve dividing assets and debts.

Assets are things one or both parties own.  For example, a house, land, car, jewelry tools, retirement plans, insurance, and bank accounts. Debts are things one or both parties owe to someone else. For example, a mortgage, car loan, credit card debt, or medical bills.

The court can also order maintenance (which is like alimony), which are payments that are usually made from the higher earning party to the lower-earning party.  Maintenance is a complicated topic, and you should consult an attorney for more information. 

Divorce can be a difficult and stressful process.  When intimate partner abuse has happened during the marriage, victims can face safety issues in the divorce process. We strongly encourage victims of intimate partner abuse to contact us.

More information on steps to filing a divorce.
More information on waiving filing fees.
More information on other family law issues.
List of courts by county.

If you or someone you know needs help on this topic, click here for some Denver-based and national organizations that may help you.

To see Colorado statutes on dissolution of marriage and divorce, click here.

Post-Decree Family Law

“Post-decree” means a court case that happens after the Court has already made final rulings and orders in a family law. For example, a court may have ruled on child custody, parenting time, or child support in a divorce or custody case.

A post-decree case is when one of the people in the case asks the court, at a later date, to change or enforce the court’s order. This is sometimes done with a motion to modify, motion to enforce, or motion for contempt.

For example, if one parent wants to change the amount of time a child spends with the other parent, they might ask to the court to modify their parenting time order. Another example is if one parent is not paying child support like they are supposed to, the other parent might ask the court to force them to do so.  

Lots of post-decree cases happen after a divorce. But, post-decree cases can happen any time a court has made a custody order, even if the couple was never married.

A person who wants to enforce or change the court order has to go through “post-decree” litigation. Post-decree litigation is complicated. You should speak to a qualified family law attorney for further information.