Nobody enters into marriage hoping it will end in divorce. Nevertheless, couples choose to seek a divorce for a variety of reasons each and every day. In fact, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2021, the divorce rate in Colorado was 2.9 divorces per 1,000 residents.
If you are considering ending your marriage in Colorado, it’s important to know what options are available. Depending on the facts surrounding your case, you might benefit from pursuing an uncontested divorce.
Not sure what an uncontested divorce is or whether it might be a good fit for your situation? Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of an uncontested divorce in Colorado and how the family law attorneys at Plog & Stein P.C. can help you move forward.
An Overview of Uncontested Divorce in Colorado
Going through a divorce can be complicated and emotional for everyone involved. Under certain circumstances, however, the parties may be able to pursue an uncontested divorce, which can greatly simplify the process.
An uncontested divorce is one in which the spouses are able to amicably agree to the terms of their divorce without the need for court intervention. Notably, the parties must agree to all material provisions regarding the dissolution of their marriage, including:
- Spousal maintenance,
- The distribution of property, and
- The allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, and parenting time for any mutual children.
Under the best conditions, the parties will be able to come to agreement on all issues, before a case is even filed with the court, and put those terms into a written separation agreement setting forth the agreed-upon terms of the divorce.
Generally speaking, unless any of the terms are completely outrageous, the court will enter a decree of dissolution. This decree formally terminates the marriage, and orders the parties to comply with the terms set forth in the separation agreement.
What’s the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Colorado?
As the name implies, an uncontested divorce must be uncontested. Thus, it is a contested divorce if both parties cannot agree on any issue—such as how to divide the property or split parenting time for any minor children.
When a divorce is contested, the parties will need to present their respective arguments in court, where a judge will make a final determination on any disputed issues.
Pros of an Uncontested Divorce in Colorado
An uncontested divorce has many benefits that make it a worthwhile option to consider for divorcing parties. Below are some common pros of an uncontested divorce in Colorado.
Legal proceedings can be expensive, and a divorce is no exception. There will be a number of filing fees, potential expert costs, potential legal fees, and other costs associated with pursuing a contested divorce. Also, if you cannot resolve your disagreements, your case will go to trial, and trials cost money. There is no legal requirement that you hire legal counsel. But when the stakes are high, going it alone can be risky. If you have no legal training and try to take your case to trial, the chances are good that you will make mistakes that could cost you. But hiring a lawyer to take your case all the way through trial can be financially costly.
Uncontested divorces never have to go to trial. With an uncontested divorce, there will be fewer documents to prepare and file, and you will spend much less time in court. As a result, an uncontested divorce is typically much less financially costly than a contested divorce.
An uncontested divorce is also far less stressful than a contested divorce. The emotional strain of a divorce where you just can’t see eye to eye is difficult to quantify. But it is safe to say that the ability to compromise and work through your issues amicably puts far less pressure on everyone involved.
In addition to being less expensive and less stressful, an uncontested divorce is also much quicker and more efficient than a contested divorce. This is due to the fact that an uncontested divorce will not require various litigation steps or a lengthy trial, making it a more appealing option for many individuals. A Colorado divorce can be done in 91 days of either filing or service of process. Many uncontested divorces are done within this time frame. Contested divorces can take 6 months or more.
A lesser-known advantage of an uncontested divorce, as compared to a contested divorce, is the level of privacy afforded to the parties.
Contested divorces can frequently become contentious, and the parties’ personal details will likely be disclosed in court filings, discovery documents, and at trial. However, because you typically resolve an uncontested divorce without extensive court appearances or public court filings, the parties’ personal information will likely remain private and out of the public eye.
Cons of an Uncontested Divorce in Colorado
Although there are a number of advantages to an uncontested divorce, there are some key drawbacks to be aware of as well. Below are some examples of cons associated with an uncontested divorce in Colorado:
- It might take the parties a significant amount of time to come to an agreement on all of the terms of the divorce;
- Any disparity in knowledge or bargaining power between the parties can lead to unfair and unequal negotiations, i.e., if your partner is hiding anything you might not find out in time;
- Because agreement to all terms of the divorce is necessary, the parties may have to compromise on certain issues that are important to them; and
- The parties will not get an opportunity to present their case at trial.
While an uncontested divorce can be great in some cases, it may not be the right option for everyone. The key is whether the terms you are agreeing to are acceptable mapped up with the outcome you believe you could gain going to trial. If you’re not sure whether an uncontested divorce makes sense for your situation, contact us to discuss your case.
Contact Our Attorneys Today
Going through a divorce can be a complex and stressful process. However, an uncontested divorce can give the parties a more efficient and cost-effective way to terminate their marriage.
If you have questions about the pros and cons of an uncontested divorce in Colorado, give our team a call. At Plog & Stein P.C., our family law attorneys have been helping clients navigate the ins and outs of divorce since 1999. Contact us today to discuss your case and see if an uncontested divorce might be right for you.