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Family & Divorce Law

Do you need a lawyer to file for divorce in Colorado - and other FAQs

By Tolison & Williams / February 1, 2021

For an uncontested divorce in Colorado, you should consider hiring an attorney to at least review your divorce papers and separation agreement to ensure that you are being treated fairly. If you are parting with your spouse on poor terms, having legal representation is necessary.

Still, there several other nuances to consider as you decide if you need a divorce lawyer or not:

  1. Availability. Without a divorce lawyer, you will be personally responsible for preparing all the divorce papers, filing them with the court, and preparing for a status conference meeting.
  2. Negotiation skills. During the time it takes to finalize a divorce in Colorado, your relationship with a spouse may change. You may find yourself in conflict over the division of assets, or the practical side of dividing parenting time. An attorney can help you navigate these issues, avoid active confrontation, and minimize the chances of going to trial.  
  3. Personal circumstances. If you have some shared assets or require special provisions such as alimonies or extra child support, a divorce lawyer is needed to help you file all the petitions to the Colorado court. Should your divorce go to trial, they will also be responsible for preparing your case and protecting your best interests in front of the judge.  

Based on the above, you might also be wondering about the following questions. 


Is it Better to Be The One Filing For Divorce?

Being the one who files the divorce has its perks. You are in a better position to prepare and to find an attorney to best meet your needs. 

In addition to this, you can protect yourself if you fear your spouse may drain bank accounts, sell assets, or take other financially damaging actions. The moment you file for divorce, a standing order goes into effect. This is a court-adopted standing order that automatically applies to every divorce for protecting all of the financial resources of the marriage, as well as parent-child relationships.  

However, if your divorce goes to trial, the person who filed usually must present their case first. This can put you at a disadvantage as you’d have to reveal your strategy to the spouse and opposing attorney.


How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Colorado?

The average divorce in Colorado will cost around $14,500. Out of that, attorney fees average about $11,400. Filing the divorce petition is $230. Of course, that only covers the necessary fees. If a couple uses optional court services or must make several court appearances they will pay more.

If the divorce is uncontested, and there aren’t many matters to settle, the cost of a divorce may be much less than the average rates. Keep in mind that this number includes highly contentious divorces involving lawyers who demand high hourly rates.


How Do I Start The Divorce Process in Colorado?

If you are the petitioner and file for divorce on your own, you need to do the following to start the divorce process:

  1. Go to the courthouse in your county of residence. 
  2. File petition for divorce, case information sheet, and summons for your spouse.
  3. Pay the filing fee to the court clerk.
  4. Request duplicate copies for all documents.
  5. Assure the summons is signed by the clerk.
  6. Assemble a packet of divorce documents to be served to your spouse.

You can do all of the above on your own or with the help of a divorce lawyer. 

Once the other party receives and signs the divorce papers, the official divorce waiting period starts. In Colorado, it’s 90 days. Within this time slot, the court will appoint an ISC (initial status conference), typically within 40 days. For the ISC meeting, you’ll have to prepare financial disclosures, temporary order requests (if any), and other court-required documents.  

The next steps of the divorce include the temporary orders hearing, discovery, and finally the permanent order.


a Good Attorney Will Protect You

You can represent yourself and get divorced without a lawyer in Colorado. But it’s usually inadvisable. A good attorney will assure that your interests are protected during this process. If your divorce becomes contentious, having an attorney by your side can prove invaluable as they’d handle the bulk of negotiations and paperwork. At the very least, consider seeking out a lawyer’s advice before you file or when you receive your summons. If you're currently looking for an attorney, schedule a free consultation with Tolison and Williams today!

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Tags: Divorce Family Law

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