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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Ellison

Colorado Divorce Basics: What is Divorce?

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

What is divorce?

“What is divorce?” seems like an obvious question, but really understanding the answer helps you understand the limits of the Judge’s authority in your case, what evidence will actually be relevant, and the why the judicial system seems to approach divorce in an emotionless, sanitized way. (“How can it not matter that my spouse cheated on me after 20 years of marriage?”)

No Legal Advice Intended: This information is not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact an attorney for advice on specific legal problems.

Divorce is a court process required by the State of Colorado to end your legal status of marriage to your spouse. In doing so, the Court’s purposes are to determine that it has jurisdiction to end your marital status, divide any marital assets and debts between you and your spouse, and determine parental responsibilities regarding any minor children.

That’s it. Bad behavior of either party is not going to be considered by the judge, unless it affects asset/debt values parenting in some way. In divorces without children, if the case requires a hearing, the court simply hears about the parties’ assets and debts, hears arguments relevant to how the assets and debts should be divided, decides their values, and decides how to divide the assets and debts equitably between the parties.

In determining equitable division, a party is rarely awarded more for contributing most financially to acquiring the asset. Usually, the approach is an emotionless, mathematical division of assets and debts close to equally.

This is why most cases are settled without a hearing. Informed parties and their attorneys can often work out resolution based upon expectations of what will occur in court. The judge will usually split the marital values of assets and debts as close to half as they can. Therefore, hearings end up only being a necessity for resolving disagreements on asset valuations (How much is marital? How much is the house actually worth?) and child-related disputes.

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