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How Much Does It Cost to File for a Divorce in Colorado?

When contemplating the financial aspect of divorce in Colorado, it’s natural to wonder about the associated costs. Understanding the breakdown of expenses involved in initiating legal proceedings can provide clarity and help individuals make informed decisions.

Filing Fees For Domestic Relations

The initial step in filing for divorce or initiating a custody case involves submitting a petition to the court. In Colorado, the cost of filing a petition for dissolution of marriage is $230.00. For cases involving the allocation of parental rights, such as custody disputes between unmarried parties, the filing fee is slightly lower, at $222.00. These fees cover the administrative costs associated with processing the initial paperwork and officially initiating the legal proceedings.

Answer Filing Fee For Divorce in Colorado

Once a petition has been filed, the respondent typically needs to file an answer to the petition. This step ensures that both parties have officially entered the legal process and have the opportunity to respond to the claims made in the petition. In Colorado, the filing fee for an answer to the petition is $116.00. This fee contributes to the administrative expenses incurred by the court in processing the respondent’s response.

Service of Process 

In addition to filing fees, parties involved in a divorce or custody case must ensure that the petition is served on the other party in compliance with legal requirements. This process, known as service of process, involves delivering the petition to the respondent in a manner consistent with Colorado’s rules of civil procedure. While service can be accomplished through various methods, including personal delivery or certified mail, it often incurs additional costs. On average, the cost of personal service ranges between $50.00 and $70.00, depending on the method chosen and the location of the respondent.

Co-Petition Option: Filing For Divorce in Colorado

It’s worth noting that parties involved in a divorce in Colorado have the option of filing a co-petition, which differs from the traditional petition and response model. In a co-petition, both parties jointly file the initial paperwork, thereby avoiding the need for the respondent to file a separate answer. This approach not only streamlines the process but also eliminates the associated filing fees for the respondent. Additionally, co-petitioning may offer a more cooperative and amicable alternative to traditional divorce proceedings, as it demonstrates a shared commitment to resolving issues collaboratively.

Understanding the costs involved in filing for divorce or initiating a custody case in Colorado is an essential aspect of the decision-making process. By familiarizing themselves with the breakdown of fees and expenses, individuals can better prepare financially for the legal proceedings ahead. Additionally, exploring alternative options, such as co-petitioning, may offer a more cost-effective and efficient path to resolution. Ultimately, seeking guidance from a knowledgeable divorce attorney can provide invaluable support and assistance in navigating the complexities of divorce or custody proceedings while minimizing financial strain.

What To Do Once You’ve Filed

After filing for divorce, there are several important steps you should take to protect your interests and navigate the process effectively:

Consult with an Attorney: Consider seeking legal advice from a qualified family law attorney who can guide you through the divorce process, explain your rights, and help you understand your options. Our team of divorce attorneys at Colorado Legal Group is ready to handle your case with expert care and guidance.

Gather Financial Documents: Start gathering important financial documents that will be necessary for property division and financial disclosures during the divorce process. Here is a list of documents to consider when preparing for your divorce in Colorado: 

    • Bank statements for all accounts (checking, savings, investment)
    • Tax returns for the past several years
    • Pay stubs or income statements for you and your spouse
    • Documentation of any additional sources of income (e.g., rental property income, bonuses)
    • Retirement account statements (e.g., 401(k), IRA, pension plans)
    • Social Security statements
    • Stock and bond statements
    • Documentation of any outstanding debts (e.g., credit card statements, loan statements)
    • Birth certificates for children
    • Documentation of child-related expenses (e.g., daycare costs, extracurricular activities)
    • Child support orders (if already established)
    • Insurance policies 
    • Estate planning documents like wills and trusts 

Create a Budget: Assess your financial situation and create a budget to manage expenses during and after the divorce. This can help you plan for any changes in income or expenses that may occur as a result of the divorce. Keep in mind these factors while creating your budget for after divorce:

    • Take stock of your income, including any wages, salary, bonuses, or investment income. Similarly, identify your expenses, including housing costs, utilities, transportation, groceries, insurance premiums, debt payments, and discretionary spending. 
    • Consider costs related to filing for divorce,  legal representation, mediation or arbitration fees, court fees, and any necessary appraisals or assessments of marital assets.
    • If you were previously reliant on your spouse’s income or shared household expenses, you may need to adjust to a lower income or increased financial responsibilities following divorce in Colorado. 
    • Consider seeking guidance from a financial advisor or accountant who specializes in divorce-related financial matters, helping you develop a budget that aligns with your financial goals and priorities.

Consider Custody and Parenting Plans: For couples with children, determining custody arrangements and drafting parenting plans are crucial steps. Prioritize your children’s well-being and consider their best interests when discussing custody arrangements with your spouse. Being proactive in this regard can lead to smoother negotiations and a more amicable co-parenting relationship post-divorce.

Attend Court Hearings: Active participation in court hearings is essential throughout the divorce process. Your attorney will advise you on the necessary preparations and documentation required for each hearing. By complying with court directives and providing requested information promptly, you can help expedite the divorce proceedings and avoid unnecessary delays.

Communicate with Your Attorney: Maintain open communication with your attorney throughout the divorce process. Keep them informed of any updates or changes in your circumstances, and follow their advice on how to proceed. Effective communication with your attorney is key to a successful outcome. A collaborative approach between you and your divorce attorney fosters a stronger case strategy and ensures that your interests are adequately represented.

Take Care of Yourself: Divorce can take a toll on your emotional well-being. It’s essential to prioritize self-care during this challenging period. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist as needed, and engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress relief. Taking care of your mental and emotional health is crucial as you navigate the complexities of divorce.

Explore Settlement Options: Consider options for resolving issues outside of court, such as mediation or collaborative divorce. These approaches often lead to more amicable resolutions, reduce the financial burden of litigation, and preserve relationships post-divorce. Exploring settlement options demonstrates a willingness to cooperate and can expedite the process and reduce the costs of divorce in Colorado. 

Stay Organized: Organize all pertinent documents related to your divorce in a systematic manner. Maintain records of communications with your attorney, court orders, and financial disclosures for easy reference. Staying organized facilitates efficient communication with your legal team and ensures that nothing falls through the cracks during the proceedings.

By taking these steps after filing for divorce, you can better navigate the legal process and work toward a favorable outcome for yourself and your family.

Hiring a Colorado Divorce Attorney

The lawyer you select can affect the rest of your life. Colorado Legal Group’s team of Denver divorce lawyers and family law attorneys are highly skilled in developing a strategy that will get you through your case in the best way possible; with the best outcomes, lowest cost, and least amount of emotional stress. Let us guide you through a divorce without the drama, without costing you a fortune, and without ruining your family.

Submit a free case evaluation to our attorneys or give us a call at 720.594.7360 to get started.

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