To a certain extent, the divorcing couple can control the situation by the way they handle their own divorce. So, for example, if there are requests for documents, the divorce is going to get completed sooner if the party being asked for the documents produces them promptly.
A divorce in Colorado has to take at least 91 days, by state statute. There is no procedure for shortening the amount of time. So, even if everything goes smoothly, and the divorcing couple reach agreements on everything in their divorce, it is going to take at least 91 days. There is not an emergency process that is shorter than 91 days.
In some cases, the divorce can take a year, or even significantly longer, say two years. There are backlogs of cases in certain counties (Arapahoe and Douglas being two of those). So even if the divorcing couple agree on most issues, it still will take a year or longer if there is even one contested issue. A “contested issue” is simply an issue about which the parties do not agree. It is an issue which the court will have to decide.
The author of this article once had a case, back in the 1990’s, that did not get heard for Permanent Orders until four years from the time it was filed. Yes, four years. That was ridiculous. No divorce case should take that long. And one of the delays was caused because the judge assigned to the case decided to take a day off and play golf with the local bar association.
If, for example, the divorcing parties have agreed on everything except decision-making for medical issues of their children, there will have to be a hearing, and the hearing might not get set (scheduled) for several months.
Some of the factors in how long it will take to get a hearing are:
--How long a hearing is required. A case that will take a week to hear will probably be set further out in the future than a case that will take only an hour.
--The complexity of the issues to be decided. A more complex case probably will take longer and be set further out in the future.
--The number of witnesses who are required to testify. More witnesses probably equates to a hearing that is set further off in the future. In general expert witnesses (such as Certified Public Accountants or Child and Family Investigators) take longer than lay witnesses.
--Whether the parties have reached agreements on many of the issues. If there are significant agreements, the hearing probably can be set sooner.
--Whether the parties are agreeing to have a magistrate, rather than a judge, hear their case. Generally, a hearing can get scheduled sooner if the parties agree to a magistrate, rather than a judge. A Permanent Orders hearing cannot be heard by a magistrate unless both parties agree. However, in some judicial districts, magistrates do not conduct hearings that are longer than an allotted amount of time (perhaps longer than a half day).
--Doris B. Truhlar