Frequently Asked Colorado Divorce Questions Part 4

  1. My wife moved from Colorado to Washington three years ago and has filed for divorce there. Do I need a Colorado or Washington attorney?

    Unfortunately, the initial step in this instance will be to get a Washington attorney. Presuming the husband never lived in Washington, owns no real property in Washington, and is not served with papers in Washington, Washington should not be able to exercise personal jurisdiction over him based on his lack of minimal contacts with that state. In legal terms, Washington would not have in personam jurisdiction over him. The logical key to jurisdiction is whether there is any factual or legal nexus between the husband and the other state. A Colorado divorce lawyer not licensed in Washington would be of no help in terms of dealing with the jurisdictional issues there. The jurisdictional laws in Washington could differ from Colorado’s. Thus, the first step would be to get a Washington attorney to deal with the issue of getting the case dismissed or setting the terms for which substantive issues could be heard there. Assuming Washington law is similar to Colorado’s, no substantive issues would be heard, though the Washington court could, in theory, enter a divorce. The filing of the Washington case would not preclude the husband from filing a Colorado divorce case and having his wife served. If there are children, whichever state they had lived in for the previous 6 months would have jurisdiction over custody issues. Sometimes two states will have jurisdiction over differing issues a family may face.

  2. Do we have to go to court if we agree on everything in our divorce?

    The answer to this question depends on various factors. In instances in which there are attorneys on both sides and the parties have agreed upon all issues, in writing, an “affidavit for entry of decree without appearance of the parties” can be submitted to the court. This document, which is signed and notarized by both parties, indicates to the court that all issues are resolved and requests that decree be entered without anyone appearing. Parties to a divorce without attorneys, in which there are no children, can also submit an affidavit for entry of decree without appearance of the parties. In instances in which the parties to a divorce submit such an affidavit, the court will generally grant the “decree” without anyone appearing in court. However, pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-120.3, the court can still require the parties to come in for a hearing, though it generally will not. When there are child/ custody issues and one or both parties is not represented by an attorney, the court will require the parties to come in for a final “uncontested hearing,” even if they have submitted a written agreement on all issues.

  3. My wife didn’t disclose a stock account at the time of our divorce. What can I do?

    In a divorce case, each party has a duty to completely disclose all assets he or she may have. Without full disclosure, the parties, or the court, cannot fairly or equitably divide the property that comprises the marital estate. Despite this duty of full disclosure, there are people who attempt to hide assets or provide false values related thereto. Fortunately, C.R.C.P. Rule 16.2(e)(1) provides that the court retains jurisdiction for a period of 5 years after entry of final settlement or orders to reallocate, or allocate, assets (or debts) which were not disclosed or which were misstated in a party’s financial disclosures at the time of the divorce. In terms of any reallocation, the court must find that the misstatement or omission materially affects the division of property (or debt) entered at the time the divorce became final.

  4. Do we have to file financial disclosures?

    Yes. Pursuant to C.R.C.P. 16.2, each party to a divorce case must provide a sworn financial statement and supporting documents. These disclosures set forth income, assets, debt, and expenses. Even if the parties agree on all issues, the court will require a sworn financial statement and certificate indicating exchanged financial documents to be filed. Though parties can agree on all issues, the court is still charged with the power to assess final settlements as to property, alimony, debt, and other issues. If a court is without financial disclosures, it cannot assess the fairness of a property or alimony settlement. In most instances, a court will not accept a final divorce agreement and allow decree to enter unless both parties have complied with the rules regarding financial disclosures. If one party is not participating or cooperating, the court may allow decree to enter, so long as one party has complied with the rules regarding disclosures.

  5. Can I remain on my husband’s health insurance once we are divorced?

    Though there is no statutory rule regarding health insurance coverage after a decree of dissolution of marriage enters contained in the statutory section regarding divorce, the general rule of thumb is that most insurance companies will remove the other spouse within 30 days of decree entering, if not sooner. How long a spouse can remain on the other’s insurance policy after the divorce enters is up to the insurance plan. Each plan can be different and both parties should inquire as to this issue so as to know where he or she stands in terms of coverage. Though the courts have power to order coverage for children, or the addition of them to an existing health plan, they do not have the authority to order an insurance company to continue covering an ex-spouse.
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