Here’s the short answer: expect that your divorce, if you do not settle, will take 7-8 months to be finalized.
Of course, every divorce case is different, but there is a standard process every couple will go through to finalize their divorce. In Boulder County, the first thing that happens after you’ve filed for divorce is an Initial Status Conference.
ISCs were established to expedite the divorce process, which can damage families financially and emotionally if prolonged unnecessarily.
Different Counties, Different Rules
Each county is a little different when it comes to ISCs. In most, the ISC must be conducted within 42 days of filing the case. In Boulder County, parties have to do them sooner.
In Boulder, trials are scheduled at the ISC. In Adams County, they are not. Regardless of where you are, from the time to filing to the date of your trial, you’re looking at around 7-8 months if you do not settle.
Sometimes a Trial Is Unnecessary
Trials are only necessary when parties are unable to work things out by themselves. In Colorado, if you manage to reach an agreement after 91 days from filing, you can usually get divorced without going to court at all.
In that case, the two sides enter into a Separation Agreement or a Parenting Plan or both. If both sides are represented by an attorney, or if there are no children involved, then the court will often allow a divorce by affidavit.
If there are children involved and both sides are not represented, then the court will schedule a review hearing to make sure that everything is handled properly.
On the rare occasion that the court believes “something is off,” the judge can request a more detailed review hearing to make sure that the agreement is fair and equitable and that there is no evidence of one side being coerced.
For example, Colorado has a mandatory child support statute. If the wife is supposed to get $1000 but the parties agree that she’ll only get $200, the court is going to want more information.
When the Court Asks For a Review
I’ve only experienced a few cases where the court has asked for a detailed review. In one, there was an apparent disparity in the division of assets, and we had to explain to the Court that most of the assets were accumulated before the marriage.