Colorado has a no-fault divorce law, which means that a person seeking a divorce does not have to prove that their spouse did anything wrong. As long as they meet the residence requirements, and both parties agree that the marriage is "irretrievably broken," the court will almost always grant the request to legally dissolve the marriage.
However, in some cases it can be hard to get the spouses to agree to end the marriage. Sometimes one party has a sincere objection to the divorce. Other times, one spouse is just stubbornly refusing to do what the other one wants. Sometimes, one spouse is hard to track down. And sometimes, in cases involving domestic violence, one spouse is reasonably frightened of meeting with the other to discuss ending the marriage.
Whatever the reasons for it, one spouse can request a divorce without the other's OK. In these cases, the spouse requesting the divorce is known as the petitioner. The other spouse is known as the respondent.
The petitioner fills out a petition for Dissolution of Marriage. There are separate petitions for marriages with children or without. Divorce with children can be more complicated because it involves questions of child custody and child support. Still, no divorce is easy.
The petitioner files the paperwork with the county clerk and must pay a filing fee. After that, the petitioner has to arrange to deliver a summons to get the respondent to respond to the petition.
Perhaps needless to say, no one likes to receive a divorce summons. Sometimes respondents react badly. However, a petition is the best way to get the divorce under way.
A lawyer with experience in divorce can advise clients on their options in ending a marriage, dividing property, and protecting themselves and their children.