Do want to file a joint divorce with your spouse, but you’re not sure where to start? In this article, I’ll guide you through the next steps you should take.

Filing as Co-Petitioners means that both you and your spouse will sign the Petition for Dissolution. While you’ve probably already had some discussions with your spouse, getting him or her onboard is the first step.

Decide When To File. In Colorado, there is a 91-day waiting period between when the divorce is filed and the date when the judge can sign your Decree. Some couples choose to file the Petition before all the paperwork is completed so that this clock can start ticking. Other couples wait until all the paperwork is done, so they can file everything at the same time. If you choose this second option, your paperwork will sit for 91 days and then the judge will sign your Decree.

Collect your financial information. In Colorado, each spouse must complete extensive financial disclosures. These include bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and childcare expenses for your children.

Meet with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). Does the thought of providing all your financial documents overwhelm you? If so, a CDFA can help you and your spouse gain a clear picture of your assets and debts. They can also assist you in creating a post-divorce budget.

Consult with a Mediator or Parent Coach. If you can’t agree on custody arrangements or aren’t sure where to start in crafting a Parenting Plan, a therapist or parent coach trained in collaborative law can help you and your spouse work through disagreements and reach a resolution.

Talk to a Collaboratively Trained Lawyer. Most people think that hiring a lawyer is the first step. However, a lawyer’s main role is to advise you on the law and make sure your agreements are in the proper format for court. While the lawyer can give you a list of topics to discuss with your spouse, a financial advisor or parent coach will be better suited to help you problem-solve. Hiring an attorney too early in the process can also make your spouse feel defensive and cause unnecessary expense.

Finally, I’ve had clients who avoided hiring attorneys for their amicable divorces because they were worried about increased difficulty, expense, or conflict. However, not having guidance from an attorney or other professional can lead to unclear agreements that cause problems in the future. By agreeing with your spouse on a course of action, it is possible to complete a divorce without stepping foot in court.

If you have more questions about your divorce, I’m here to help!

Katelyn Ridenour Parker

8400 East Prentice Ave.
Suite 1500
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Phone: (720) 213-6858

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