Skip to main content
(866) 465-5395 Schedule a Consultation (866) 465-5395 Schedule a Consultation

Special Considerations For Divorce in Colorado

| |

While many people understand the concept that if you get married and things don’t work out with your spouse, it will require a divorce to legally end the relationship. All states are able to determine their own divorce laws and manage marriage and divorce at their own discretion. This means that as you cross state lines the laws may change. Most states follow similar laws, with some adjustments here and there, and there are some federal laws that are non-negotiable — first-line blood relatives may not marry and civil unions must be honored. However, in regard to almost everything else, states are free to write their own laws.

Colorado marriage and divorce laws err on the side of equality and “fairness” to all parties involved. Colorado also has some of the more liberal laws in place to allow couples to make decisions regarding their own relationships.

Join us in today’s post as we discuss some of Colorado’s unique divorce laws and considerations. If you are considering divorce, consult a family attorney near you that has the experience necessary to make your divorce as smooth as possible. At Petrelli Previtra, we have been helping couples and families navigate their divorce for more than 20 years. We are familiar with Colorado law and the divorce process in Denver.

Colorado Divorce Statistics

  • 41% of marriages end in divorce
  • Colorado has a divorce rate of 11.89%
  • The national divorce rate is 10.9%
  • Aspen has the highest rate of divorce in Colorado at 22.9%
  • 34.8% of Coloradans are married

General Information About Colorado Divorces

Colorado Divorce Facts

  • Either spouse must reside in Colorado for 90 days
  • There is a 90-day wait period after filing
  • Colorado is a “no-fault” state
  • Colorado is an “equitable distribution” state
  • Colorado encourages co-parenting and joint custody

Colorado is only one of 18 states that do not consider the reason for divorce, nor give credit or weight to either party based on the cited reason for divorce. Most of the other 32 states offer the ability to file for a no-fault divorce, but put weight on cases of divorce that are a result of infidelity, abuse, or abandonment. In Colorado, however, no blame can be placed on either party, and despite the reason of divorce, “equitable distribution” practices will be followed. Equitable distribution is the concept that under Colorado marriage laws, both parties enter into the marriage and come out of the divorce as equal members of the relationship. And, therefore, assets will be distributed equitably (not necessarily fairly), to prevent either spouse from taking advantage of the other or leaving the other spouse in a worse situation. Additionally, Colorado family law does not side with one spouse or the other in terms of child custody and support and instead views each parent as equal. Colorado family courts encourage both parents to have as much parenting time as possible with children and sole custody is almost never granted.



  • The process is the same as traditional divorce
  • The marriage legally never happened once annulment is finalized
  • The marriage must meet qualifying factors to be annulled

An annulment is similar to a divorce in the sense that it ends a marriage, legally. However, when an annulment is granted, it is as though the marriage never existed to begin with. Under Colorado law, the judge may grant a “declaration of invalidity. To be granted an annulment, the marriage must warrant it. Some of the factors that may be used as a valid reason for annulment include:

  • The inability of either spouse to consent — age, mental problem, or intoxication
  • Either spouse is unable or unwilling to consummate the marriage
  • A spouse is underage and does not have parental consent
  • If a spouse was tricked, forced, or married under fraudulent terms
  • Either spouse is under duress at the time of the wedding
  • Either spouse is married to someone else

During the annulment process, the separation and division of assets is the same as in a normal divorce. Unless the parties did not live together and the annulment is awarded shortly after the marriage, in which case, it will be treated more as a legal “breakup” — each party will remain with their own assets.

Civil Union

Dissolution of Civil Union

  • Treated the same as divorce
  • Annulment, alimony, child custody, and allocation of parental responsibilities apply
  • Same-sex couples can be common law married and follow same dissolution process

The dissolution of a civil union (same-sex marriage) in Colorado is, as of 2013, the same as a traditional divorce. This change was considered, by some, to be just as important as the marriage equality act. Prior to 2013, under Colorado family law, dissolution of civil union would not be granted to those who were not married in Colorado. And, may couples faced challenges in regard to the division of assets, debts, and children. As the laws continue to catch up with society, there is room for negotiation when it comes to challenging common law marriage considerations prior to the legalizations of same-sex marriage in 2013. When the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the same fundamental rights as heterosexual couples and denying the right to marry and divorce was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, in 2015, this meant that the denial of rights prior to that was void. If you and your spouse, or ex-spouse, declared common law marriage before the civil union was legal or separated and unable to contest division of assets or child custody because your relationship was not yet legally recognized, contact us to see what we can do for you.

Common Law Marriage

Common Law Marriage

  • No time requirements, but must cohabitate
  • Declaration of marriage and recognition of spouses as married
  • Same-sex couples eligible
  • Must follow tradition divorce process to end common law marriage

Colorado is one of 15 states that recognizes common law marriages. Per Colorado law, there is no minimum time stipulation that is required to establish a common law marriage, rather the introduction of each other as a spouse. For instance, introducing each other as “my husband” or putting “Mr. and Mrs.” on Christmas cards. However, just as an actual legal marriage, in the separation of common law couples, the same legal process must be followed. This means that equitable division of assets, alimony, child support, and allocation of parental responsibility (child custody) will all be subject to the same guidelines as divorce.

Although Colorado family law acknowledges special considerations for some marriage situations, the union and dissolution of spousal relationships are treated equally. Regardless of your circumstances, the legal team at Petrelli Previtra can help. For all of your family law needs in the Denver area, contact us to schedule your consultation today!

Client Testimonials

Here's what our clients have to say about working with us. Please note, results may vary based on individual circumstances.

Melinda Previtera, Esq. came highly recommended to our family. Her knowledge base, professionalism, and compassion paved the way for a successful outcome. Melinda is efficient, detailed, and informative. She helps manage expectations, and postures her client for a fair and equitable result. We are happy to recommend Melinda!

Jennifer A.

My experience was very good. Everyone was professional and attentive to my needs, keeping me updated every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for a better result, highly recommended.

David R.

My marriage life has been a hell for me for the past four years until I decided to put an end to what has to be ended. Choosing a lawyer was another additional stressful part of the long process. I’m so glad that I’ve found the right one for me at Petrelli Previtera. Life isn’t always fair, but at least having her in my corner, felt even better. I couldn’t recommend her highly enough!

Caitlin B.

Serving Clients at the Following Locations

Bethesda4800 Hampden Lane, Suite 200 Bethesda MD 20814(301) 234-7409view details
Maryland5425 Wisconsin Ave Chevy Chase, MD 20815(301) 889-8085view details
ChicagoTwo Prudential Plaza 180 North Stetson Suite 3500 Chicago, IL 60601(312) 252-2085view details
Schaumburg1750 E. Golf Rd, Suite 382 Schaumburg, IL 60173(630) 491-9670view details
Texas500 W 2nd St Suite 1900 Austin, TX 78701(512) 883-1684view details
Washington DC1717 K Street NW, Suite 900 Washington DC 20006(202) 519-0366view details
Denver7900 E. Union Ave. Suite 1100, Denver, CO 80237(720) 821-6440view details
Princeton475 Wall St, Suite 214, Princeton, NJ 08540 Meeting Location: By Appointment Only (609) 917 9560 view details
Linwood210 New Road #15 Linwood, NJ 08221 Meeting Location: By Appointment Only (609) 375-0351 view details
Parsippany8 Campus Dr, Parsippany, NJ 07054 Meeting Location: By Appointment Only (973) 310-5320 view details
Philadelphia1845 Walnut Street 19th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19103(215) 523-6900view details
Montgomery County516 DeKalb Street Suite C Norristown, PA 19401(610) 924-2870view details
Doylestown123 N Broad Street, Doylestown, PA 18901(267) 938-4480view details
Abington1147 Easton Road, Abington PA 19001(610) 890-4833view details
West Chester203 W. Chestnut St., Suite 204
West Chester, PA. 19380
(610) 431-4012view details
schedule a consultation Today
Contact Us Fill out the form or call us today (866) 465-5395