Skip to content

The Divorce Process, Part 1: Grounds For Divorce

Do Colorado couples have to prove anything to get a divorce? There are two lines of thinking in the United States when it comes to divorce. All 50 states allow for “no-fault” divorce, which is divorce where neither party has to prove anything beyond that the marriage is irreparably broken.

There are 32 states that allow some form of “fault” divorce. In these divorces, one party can prove grounds for divorce such as cruelty, adultery, desertion or confinement in prison for a set number of years (it varies by state which forms of fault are accepted). For fault divorces, the goal is generally for the aggrieved party to seek a greater portion of marital property or support.

Colorado is strictly a no-fault state for divorce. This means that either spouse can petition for a divorce (also known as a dissolution of marriage) or a legal separation and only needs to show that there are irreconcilable differences between the spouses.

Because we are a no-fault state, the courts like to keep divorce cases clean, meaning they usually will not allow either spouse to present evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse. There are exceptions when the wrongdoing has the potential to affect other issues. For example, if there is any spousal or child abuse happening, the victim can present this evidence to be taken into account when the court makes decisions on parenting time (child custody).

Note that these rules only cover dissolution of marriage and legal separation, not annulments. Annulments are a separate legal process from divorce and will not be covered in this series on the divorce process in Colorado.

On Friday, we’ll discuss another issue of the divorce process ”“ who is actually allowed to file for divorce in Colorado?

Our Denver family law attorneys are willing to assist you no matter where in the divorce process you are.