Under Colorado law, the parties must wait at least 91 days (from the time they have filed a joint request for divorce) to obtain a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, which is the title of the document granting a divorce. There is no procedure in Colorado for speeding up the process. In some states, there is a process to obtain a divorce quicker if there is a good reason for reducing the time. Colorado does not have a procedure for shortening the minimum time required.
If the parties agree on all issues and submit their documents to the Court a week or two prior to the 91st day, and there are no problems, they may get a decree in 91 days, but most decrees are entered a few days later than that.
If the parties do not agree on all issues, it may take significantly longer than 91 days for the Court to grant the divorce. It could take a year, or two, or even longer, depending on a number of factors, including:
--The Court’s schedule. Some District Courts take longer than others. For example, both Arapahoe and Douglas Counties sometimes experience significant delays in getting cases set for final hearings.
--Whether an appropriate amount of time is scheduled for the final hearing. If there are attorneys on the case, they will be asked by the judge how long the case will take. If they do not estimate correctly, the case could be set for additional time to finish, and the additional time could be several months or even longer from the time the Court first starts hearing the case.
--How much time the Court has in a day to hear the case. Sometimes, the Court has emergency issues in other cases that interrupt its schedule.
--When the Court schedules more than one case (up to several) for the same time, cases may be postponed if several of the cases remain unresolved on the same day. So, for example, if the District Court schedules three cases for hearing at 8:30 a.m. each day, but only one of those cases settles, the Court may be able to hear only one of the two remaining (unsettled) cases. That means the other case often will be postponed.
--The complexity of the contested issues that the Court has to decide.
In Colorado, most courts require mediation prior to a case being heard by the Court. Most cases settle during mediation, if not prior to mediation. Parties should where it is possible take advantage of the Court-ordered mediation to settle their differences and come to agreements, to avoid lengthy delays in getting their divorce finalized.