If you are considering a divorce in Colorado or were served with a divorce petition, you may be confused about the term “no-fault” divorce. What is a no-fault divorce, and what are the effects of a no-fault divorce on the court’s property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody decisions?
Read the following for general answers to these questions. If you need specific case advice, contact an experienced Denver divorce attorney.
Is Colorado a No-Fault Divorce State?
Seventeen states in the U.S. are considered true no-fault divorce states, but all fifty states offer a no-fault divorce. Colorado is one of these states.
In a no-fault divorce state, neither spouse must accept responsibility or blame for the breakup of the marriage. No-fault divorces are meant to make the divorce process less contentious for spouses and eliminate the need for time-consuming court proceedings to prove spousal fault.
Typically, a spouse in Colorado will assert that their marriage is “irretrievably broken” with no hope of reconciliation when filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
Is Filing a Fault-Based Divorce an Option in Colorado?
Filing a fault-based divorce is not an option in Colorado. Colorado does not permit a spouse to claim any fault-based grounds in a divorce petition. The reasons for the breakdown of the marriage may be very significant from an emotional standpoint, but fault claims are not relevant from a legal standpoint.
How are Property and Debts Divided in a No-Fault Divorce?
The court divides marital property and debt equitably between the spouses in a no-fault divorce. Bad behavior, like adultery, is not considered when the court makes its financial orders.
However, in very limited circumstances the court may take reckless depletion or misappropriation of marital funds into account in its property and spousal maintenance rulings. However, these kinds of claims succeed less frequently than one might hope.
Are Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time Affected by a No-Fault Divorce?
While parental behavior may not affect property division and spousal maintenance, it can have a direct impact on the court’s Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time. The court’s main concern in a child custody ruling is the best interest of the couple’s child(ren).
For example, the court may allocate decision-making responsibility (legal child custody) to one parent alone due to the other parent’s history of domestic abuse or alcoholism. However not all bad behavior by a parent will impact decisions relating to the children. For example an extra marital affair conducted entirely without the knowledge or involvement of the child is not likely to have any impact on parental responsibilities.
What is the Difference Between a No-Fault Divorce and an Uncontested Divorce?
A no-fault divorce is a divorce filed on the grounds of incompatibility. An uncontested divorce is one in which the spouses agree on all of the main issues for resolution in their divorce.
These issues include property and debt division, Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time, spousal maintenance (if any), and child support.
Contact an Experienced Denver Divorce Attorney Today
Every divorce is unique and requires specialized care and attention. Protect your family and assets by retaining the Denver family law attorneys who wrote the book on family law in Colorado, Hogan Omidi, PC.
At Hogan Omidi, PC, we want you to understand the effect Colorado’s no-fault divorce laws will have on your life and finances. Whether you choose to approach your case through negotiations or mediation, Hogan Omidi, PC, will build an effective trial-ready case on your behalf.
Preparation is key to any legal matter. Discuss your divorce concerns with an experienced professional today at Hogan Omidi, PC.