The word "divorce" often conjures images of protracted court battles and angry former spouses litigating their emotions by fighting over every minute of parenting time and penny of income. However, a court battle isn't the only way to handle the end of your marriage.
Although all divorces must go through the Colorado family courts, that doesn't mean that you have to testify in court regarding each decision for asset division, spousal support, and parental rights and responsibilities. Instead, you and your ex can decide to file an uncontested divorce where you set the terms of your divorce yourself.
In an uncontested divorce, you ask the courts to formalize the end of the marriage, but you provide them with an outline of how you intend to handle all of the technical decisions. The courts will review the terms to ensure that they comply with state law and then the rest of the divorce process is nothing more than the formality of hearings and signatures. Overall, it is more affordable and faster than litigating.
Alternative dispute resolution can help you prepare for uncontested filing
If you don't currently agree with your ex about how to split up your possessions or time with your kids, you might imagine that a litigated divorce is your only potential choice. However, there are multiple forms of alternative dispute resolution that you can utilize to resolve your outstanding issues and file an uncontested divorce.
The first and arguably most popular is mediation. Mediation involves working with your individual attorneys and a neutral third party who helps you figure out all of the conflicts still outstanding in your marriage. However, not everyone is comfortable with mediation for negotiating.
Some may prefer to seek the help of arbitration, which empowers a third-party arbitrator to make critical decisions, not unlike standard divorce court. It may also be possible for your attorneys to negotiate a settlement outside of court without involving a formal dispute resolution system. All you need is a way to reach terms that you agree on to file for an uncontested divorce.
You still want help when you file an uncontested divorce
Just because you and your ex won't battle for each individual asset doesn't mean you should assume the outcome will be fair and reasonable. Especially if there is an uneven power dynamic between you and your ex, they may work to manipulate you regarding setting terms that favor them more than you in the divorce proceeding.
Working with your own attorney helps prevent your ex from bullying you and ensures there is someone looking out both for your life and for the legality of the terms that you set as you move forward. Talking with a Colorado Springs attorney can also help you explore what method might work best for your family.