Each state has its own unique set of laws regarding the filing and execution of divorce. With the ever-increasing rates of divorce, it is important to have an awareness of laws regarding filing, custody, and alimony. Here are four basic laws dealing with marital dissolution in Colorado.
What is Considered Grounds for Divorce?
In Colorado, there are no longer fault divorces, but instead the state has adopted a policy of no- fault divorces which are granted on the basis of being “irretrievably broken.” In layman’s terms this means a spouse’s indiscretion such as adultery or drug abuse will not be taken into consideration when awarding alimony and splitting assets. Being irretrievably broken simply equates to the marriage being past the point of reconciliation as the spouses are unable to get along and coexist. To begin this process, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must be filed with the courts.
Alimony, sometimes referred to as maintenance, is paid from the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse. This can be temporary, (until the divorce is final) or for a specified period of time after the divorce is final. It can be decided outside of court by the spouses or if an agreement cannot be made, the judge will make the final decision. Alimony granted after a divorce is final will only happen under specific circumstances such as the receiving spouse is caring for small children, the spouse does not have sufficient skills to provide for themselves, etc. The paying spouse will be considered by the courts in reference to their ability to pay the alimony, the length of the marriage, earning potential etc.
It is important to understand what constitutes legal and physical custody of a child. Whereas, legal custody allows a parent to make health, education, and welfare decisions for the child, physical custody dictates when, where, and how often parents will spend time with their children. Parents who are able to be amicable towards one another are able to decide custody decisions outside of court, while other parents may need court intervention to make a decision for them. When a judge makes the final decision regarding legal and physical custody of the child, a great deal of time is spent investigating what is best for the child in relation to the parents wishes, the child’s wishes, siblings, mental health, location, adjustment issues, etc.
Colorado uses a basic system to calculate child support in relation to the income of both parents and the amount of time spent with each parent. Children are eligible to receive child support until they graduate from high school.