This is one of the most asked questions we hear at the Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado. It’s only natural to want some certainty during such an uncertain time in your life. You want to plan your post divorce future and understanding the timeline helps you do this.
While we wish there was a definitive answer, the time it takes to divorce will depend on a few factors unique to you and your soon to be ex-spouse. This blog looks at these factors with an emphasis on the ones you have control over and offers suggestions to lessen some sticking points in the divorce process.
Before we get into the main factors, first to remember is that in Colorado there is a 91-day ‘cooling off’ period. So, that is the minimum a divorce can take.
If you are seeking divorce as a result of cheating or abuse (emotional, physical or both) this pre-existing conflict will most certainly slow the process down. This is because the wronged party(ies) are in no position to want to make the process easier for the other party. It sounds overly simplistic but, “hurt people hurt people” and when you’ve been wronged, you often want to exact payback any way you can and this rears its head when it comes to communicating with the person who hurt you. A high level of conflict is not an insurmountable obstacle in the divorce journey, but it may prevent you from engaging in a successful divorce mediation. An attorney -led divorce will take longer on average, but it may be necessary if communication is impossible and conflict is overwhelming.
The state of Colorado requires a parenting plan but even if it didn’t you would need one to resolve the following issues:
Additionally, the following information is often included:
While it will take time to flesh out as many details as possible, a vague parenting plan will take more time (and cost more money) in the long run due a return visit or phone call to your attorney or mediator to resolve an issue.
If you have multiple properties and investment accounts, there is simply more to split up. A reminder that Colorado is an ‘equitable distribution’ state and assets and debts acquired during marriage (i.e. the marital estate) should be divided equitably between the spouses. Every asset, cars, jewelry, and even furniture is subject to division so if you’ve acquired more, it may take longer to come to an agreement around who will end up with the asset (or debt)
If you own a business together, you will need to bring in a business evaluation expert to provide a fair market value. We have a trusted advisor who helps our clients do just this.
You have four ways to proceed with divorce. DIY or do it yourself, attorney led divorce, divorce mediation and collaborative divorce. These methods are discussed in great detail here. The method you choose will depend on the amount of assets you have, the presence or absence of conflict, the length of the marriage and whether children are involved. Generally, the more complicated, conflict-heavy situations where children are present warrant an attorney-led divorce. The simpler, conflict free, minimal asset divorces may be accomplished by the parties themselves.
For everything in between, mediation and collaborative divorce are most useful.
A DIY divorce could take less than 4 months while an attorney led divorce could take 6-12 months, or more. Factors that are out of your attorney’s control include how packed the judge’s docket is, how long it takes your ex-spouse's attorney to provide the necessary documents for financial disclosure, and how long it takes a judge to rule on a motion made by either party.
Divorce mediation can be much quicker since those factors are not present and instead of two attorneys, you only have one mediator who is working with both parties to reach a consensus. Also, keep in mind that a mediator is usually not paid by the hour but charges a flat fee so each phone call, motion made, email sent is not calculated in 15 minute increments. Divorce cost is discussed in greater detail here.
Collaborative divorce involves two attorneys and a mediator and for that reason will likely take longer since there are two more parties in the mix.
1. As soon as you and your spouse begin talking about divorce, resolve to sit down and hash out your priorities. If it is maintaining privacy and keeping conflict to a minimum, divorce mediation is the most applicable choice.
2. Have he information needed to split up your assets and debts ready as soon as possible. This means you need to request, collect and share all the necessary statements, passwords, etc, with each other and the divorce professional you hire.
3. Consider how therapy could address the emotional fallout from divorce so it doesn’t negatively affect the length of time a divorce will take. If feelings of hurt are not processed and dealt with, they will inevitably slow down your divorce so leave that kind of emotional work to a professional. We are happy to refer you to therapists and divorce coaches who we trust to help our clients.
Schedule your 20 minute consultation today so we can help you plan for your post divorce future today!