Different Ways to Get Divorced in Colorado
Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Did you know there are different ways to get divorced? Choosing between mediation, collaborative law, and litigation can be difficult. We're here to help.
Choosing the right option for your situation depends on the level of conflict between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, your financial resources, and the issues involved in your case. Here's an introduction to your options for dissolving a marriage in Colorado:
Litigation. This is generally what people think of when they think of divorce. Litigation starts by filing a court case and proceeds through hearings, mediation, and various court filings. This option is usually best for people worried about time-sensitive financial issues (payment of child support, credit cards, etc.) and people who need custody determinations as soon as possible. Many clients report feeling better having an attorney help them navigate the multitude of hearings, disclosures, deadlines, and legal drafting associated with litigation.
Collaborative Law. This option is designed to get the parties what they want while avoiding the courtroom. This option is especially worth considering when children are involved in a divorce. Research has repeatedly shown that how parents divorce has a much greater impact on their kids than the divorce itself. In Collaborative Law, both parties are represented by lawyers to ensure their legal rights are protected, but the process focuses more on resolution and child-centered outcomes than litigation.
Mediated Divorce. This option allows the parties to sit down with a mediator before filing a court case. A mediator is a professional with knowledge of the legal system and training in helping people come to agreements. If the parties are able to settle the case before filing, it can save them a considerable amount of money and stress. However, the mediator is a neutral third-party and is not able to give the parties legal advice.
Unbundled Representation. Sometimes, a client is comfortable with the majority of the divorce process but wants an attorney's help with a specific task. That client can hire an attorney on an "unbundled" basis. For example, the parties reach an agreement on some of the issues in their divorce. One party may hire an attorney to draft the paperwork memorializing their agreement. Another example would be a party who wants representation at one hearing or at mediation, but is comfortable handling the rest of the case.
Self-Representation. Many people in Colorado get a divorce without having attorneys involved in their cases. This works in some situations and is disastrous in others. We often see clients coming to us months or years after a divorce needing help enforcing poorly worded agreements or saying they were not aware they had rights outside their orders. Self-representation sometimes saves people money in the short term but costs them more money in the long term. Other times it works without incident.
To learn more about your divorce options in Colorado, schedule a free consultation with Longmont Family Law today.