Related Divorce Services
Most divorce cases involve other issues that require legal assistance. At Feldmann Nagel Cantafio & Song PLLC, our Steamboat Springs divorce lawyers are prepared to handle any and all matters you may encounter during your divorce, including:
No Fault Divorce
The concept of the “no-fault divorce” was originated in California in 1970. “No-fault divorces” were originated because it did not seem to make sense to force people to stay in a marriage when they were not happy, and that requiring someone to prove legal grounds to dissolve the marriage was not serving any useful purpose.
Rather this extra step made divorces more expensive for the already aggrieved spouse. Moreover, there are defenses to a “fault divorce,” such as provocation, condonation, or collusion. Thus, if one spouse alleges a basis for a “fault divorce” that is unseemly such as abuse or adultery, the other spouse may argue there was a defense for the behavior causing that issue to become very expensive to litigate. Further, citing a specific reason for the divorce made already heightened emotions worse.
Historically, in order to obtain a divorce one had to prove the existence of legal grounds such as adultery, abuse, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, mental cruelty, or abandonment. In recent years, when people had to prove fault, courts often had to grant divorces on bases that were easier to prove, such as “mental cruelty.” In this situation, the spouse would testify that he or she was being subjected to mental stress as a result of the actions of the other spouse. Over time, the “no-fault divorce” law expanded to the majority of states making it much easier to obtain a divorce - simply because one was unhappy and the marriage was irretrievably broken.
However, in Colorado, which is a strict “no-fault divorce” state, Courts are very restrictive about hearing any evidence regarding any fault basis. In Colorado, the Court will only allows evidence that there was an extramarital affair, if the financial expenditures paid on for the affair were extreme and expended without the consent of the unknowing spouse, but the amount of those expenses have to be established such as hotel costs or expensive gifts. Further, where a spouse engaged in acts of domestic violence, the law has presumptions against joint decision-making and parenting time as the law deems domestic violence acts committed against a spouse to be harmful to children, whether the children are involved or not.
In Colorado, the concept of what testimony and evidence is relevant in a “no-fault divorce” can be confusing. The best course of action is to speak with an experienced Colorado divorce attorney.
Colorado Divorce Process
In Colorado, to commence a divorce case, one party files a Petition for Dissolution and serves the other party with the same. One can obtain service either by utilizing the local Sheriff’s office or a private process server.
There are four critical steps in the first phase of a divorce case:
Filing & Response: First, once a party is served with a Petition, they have 21 days to file a Response to the Petition. The Response merely admits or denies the allegations in the Petition.
Parenting Class: Second, if there are minor children at issue in the divorce case, each party is required to attend a Parenting Class. The Parenting Class is a four hour class and is a great source of information as it pertains to children issues during a divorce case.
Initial Status Conference: Third, the Court will set an Initial Status Conference 4-8 weeks out, depending on the County. The Initial Status Conference is more procedural than substantive in nature. This is where you introduce the case to the Court and schedule out the deadlines in the case. In some counties, temporary orders may be addressed at the conference.
Financial Disclosure: The fourth step in the first phase of a divorce case, and the most critical, is 16.2 Financial Disclosures. Each side is required to submit a Sworn Financial Statement setting forth their income and expenses as well as their assets and liabilities. Further, each side is required to produce to the other side the complete list of 16.2 Financial Disclosures which includes, but is not limited to, three years of tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, retirement account statements, and real estate documents.
Once these initial steps are complete, the case moves into the settlement phase, which will include Mediation (which is typically ordered by the Court in most counties). If you are unable to settle one or more of the pertinent issues, ultimately, you will have a trial in front of the Judge on said issues.