CO Residency Requirements for Divorce
In order to obtain a divorce or legal separation in Colorado, you or your spouse must have had your permanent home in Colorado for at least 91 days immediately before you file your initial divorce or legal separation petition. Additionally, even if you meet the 91-day residency requirement, a court cannot address parenting issues for your minor children unless the children have resided in Colorado with a parent for at least 182 days or the child is younger than six months old. If you have children, it is not possible to agree to jurisdiction in Colorado if one or both of these residency requirements are not met.
Where Will My Divorce Case Be Heard?
There are also rules and statutes in Colorado governing where a case should be heard, including the specific county.
Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 98 deals with the issue of venue and provides, in part, that “an action shall be tried in the county in which the defendants, or any of them, may reside at the commencement of the action, or the county where the plaintiff resides when service is made on the defendant in such county. . .”
Therefore, if a husband and wife reside together in Douglas County at the time the divorce is filed, the divorce is properly filed in Douglas County. If the parties originally resided in Douglas County but have since separated and the wife now lives in Arapahoe County, the husband would file the case in Arapahoe County.
Just because the parties lived together as husband and wife in a given county does not make that county the proper place for filing if circumstances have changed. It does not make a difference where the children live. However, when there are children, there is a greater chance for the person in one county to be served by the other parent in that county when visitation exchanges will occur there. Although the appropriateness of serving the other parent in front of a child should certainly be considered.
There are many reasons why a party may prefer to file a divorce action in one county over another. However, it is important to ensure that a divorce or custody case is properly filed in Colorado. If you have questions regarding jurisdiction or venue, it is important to seek advice from a divorce attorney.
To speak to a qualified legal professional at Solutions Based Family Law, contact us online or give us a call at (720) 463-2232.