Can you do your own divorce in Colorado? Quite possibly - every year, people who are willing to spend the time to educate themselves, and fill out the forms properly, can, and do, successfully obtain their own divorce without the assistance of counsel. But it's not for everyone. Read the D.I.Y. Divorce Guide, particularly the criteria section, to see if it can work in your situation.
The D.I.Y. Divorce Guide assumes that you have researched your situation, and are comfortable with what to expect. You've read the Colorado Divorce & Family Law Guide cover to cover. If you're in the military, you've read the Military Divorce Guide. You've spoken to people who have been through a Colorado divorce. You've gone to the free pro se clinic at the Courthouse. And finally, once you have everything prepared, you should still consult with an attorney to review everything. Most Colorado family law attorneys (including this firm) charge a consultation fee, but a nominal consultation fee is a small price to pay to make sure you know your rights, and things are done properly.
D.I.Y. Divorce Criteria
The D.I.Y. Divorce Guide is aimed at people whose case meets these criteria:
- Uncontested. You and your spouse agree on all aspects of the settlement. While it may be possible to litigate a contested case by yourself, it is difficult, and not advisable. So issues involved only with contested cases, such as setting up mediation, or preparing for contested hearings, are beyond the scope of this Guide.
- Simple Marital Estate. Typically, this means a shorter marriage, and assets/debts are simple and clearly-defined. This means they do not involve issues of a family business, trust funds, assets which are difficult to value, issues of potentially hidden assets, pension plans to divide with QDROs, or which involve military or governmental pensions, or issues of whether an asset is separate property or marital property.
- Easy Maintenance Issues. The ideal situation would be relatively equal incomes, so maintenance does not come into play, or, if there is a disparity in incomes, there are no issues of underemployment, hidden income, or ability to work.
- No Children, OR You Get Along Famously. There is a fill-in-the-blank parenting plan you can use (linked here) but it is pretty basic, and lacks the detail necessary to resolve any future disputes. I do not recommend a do-it-yourself parenting plan, but if you do proceed with one, be aware that it will only work as long as both parents work well together on parenting.
- Local. This Guide assumes you are here! If you're not, the process is more complicated, as you'll need to request telephonic participation in certain proceedings, and will have to file documents electronically, or by mail, rather than in person, as anticipated in the D.I.Y. Divorce Guide.