Thursday, July 3, 2008

Divorce in Colorado -How Long Does It Take?

When I speak to someone for the first time who is interested in getting a divorce or a legal separation, one of the first questions they ask is: How long will it take? The theoretical shortest amount of time it will take to get your divorce or legal separation is 91 days from the time your case is filed with the Court. Colorado Legislature has passed a law that requires the judges to wait 90 days after the case is filed before they can issue your divorce decree or decree of legal separation. There are no exceptions to this rule. There is no way around this rule. It is human nature that after someone makes the difficult decision that he or she wants to get a divorce or a legal separation, he or she then wants the desired results to occur as soon as possible.

I do not know the exact reason for the 90 day waiting period. However, I can speculate that the Legislature felt it was wise to provide a waiting period to prevent people from making hasty decisions regarding such serious arrangements as a marriage.

How long your case will take depends upon you and your spouse. If you and your spouse cooperate and agree as to all the financial and parenting aspects of the case, your case may only take 91 days until the decree is entered. The more assets and debt that you have and the more complicated your financial arrangements are, the likelihood is that your case will take longer to resolve, because assembling all the information and getting all the expert input is likely to take longer than 90 days.

It is important to remember that anything that you and your spouse don’t agree on, the judge will ultimately have to decide at a hearing. Judges are very busy, and getting time for a hearing will usually place you well past the 90 day waiting period. Absent unusual circumstances, your divorce or legal separation, however complicated, should not take more than a year to complete.

If you want your case completed as soon as possible after the 90 day waiting period has expired, you need to be organized, and be willing to cooperate with the other party. It's the Law - there is just no getting around the 90 day waiting period.