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How are Divorce Records Generated in Colorado?

Divorce is when two people previously married decide to end their marriage. This can also be called dissolution of marriage. The United States Census Bureau reported that as of 2018, the divorce rate was 8.7 in Colorado. There is only one ground for divorce in the state of Colorado being that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken.” There are no ways that one spouse can prevent another from filing for divorce as it can be requested by one party and does not have to be an agreed upon decision between the two spouses.

In Colorado, there are four types of divorce: Uncontested, mediated, collaborative, and litigated. Uncontested divorce is when both spouses are in agreement that they wish to separate and legally dissolve their marriage. They may agree upon how to divide their property, debts, and other assets including child custody arrangements. Mediated divorce involves one neutral attorney acting as a third party. This attorney is not there to provide legal advice, but to assist in the couple coming to agreements. Collaborative divorce is a method that exists so that the parties can avoid litigation. Both parties have their own attorneys that work together to help make final decisions. Litigated divorce usually occurs when the two spouses cannot come to a consensus about how to divide their assets and disagree on subjects such alimony and child custody. Litigation happens when one party’s attorney files a petition to the judge, and is followed by hearings and oftentimes a trial.

Marriage dissolution records are held and maintained by The Colorado Department of Health & Environment (CDHE) if the marriage was dissolved between 1900 and 1939 or 1975 to the present day. Records that do not fall within those dates are held in the county clerk where the divorce was finalized. The Colorado State Archives website also holds a limited number of divorce records that cannot be found through the county clerk, and the website lists the exceptions. Divorce records are recorded in three ways, and all can be utilized for different purposes. Understanding the distinctions between them can save requesting parties time and money when attempting to access these records.

Are Divorce Records Public in Colorado?

Colorado’s Open Records Act (CORA) states that members of the public have a legal right to access all government-produced records as long as proper information and justification is stated and filled out in an application form. Although it is a legal right, some records, especially divorce records, can be difficult to access because they contain personal information that may be sealed from the public by a judge, such as information regarding minors or children, adoption or custody agreements, details about abuse and domestic violence, documents regarding psychological = cal evaluations, and financial or property information of the parties.

What are the types of Divorce Records Available in Colorado?

What are Colorado Divorce Certificates

Divorce records in Colorado are available to members of the public to request for free, although the copies will not be certified. Certified copies necessitate formal request, information, and fees. These records can be sealed by a judge, but if they are not, they will be available. This type of record contains the most general information such as the names of the parties and when and where the divorce occurred. This is often requested by one fo the parties if they wish to apply for a new marriage license or change their name.

What are Colorado Divorce Decrees

Divorce decrees hold all the information included in divorce certificates as well as a case number, signature from the presiding judge and a list of agreed upon obligations. These obligations include property allocation, child support, debt arrangements, child custody, and visitation schedules. This type of document can typically only be accessed by the two parties involved and their attorneys, if any.

What are Colorado Divorce Records

Divorce records are the most complete document of a divorce. They hold very specific details and contain every document, transcript, and testimony generated during the divorce process. This record is given to each party once the divorce is finalized and they are advised to keep them in case they wish to challenge any of the terms within it. Uncertified copies can be accessed and viewed by members of the public, but only certified copies can be obtained by those involved.

How Do I Get Divorce Records in Colorado?

Colorado divorce records are maintained by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment or the county clerk. In order to find out where to access these records, requesting parties must find out which year the divorce was finalized and go from there. If the divorce record is found to be held in a county clerk’s office, requesting parties should use the Court Docket Search tool on the state website. Once the correct court is found, the requesting party needs to submit an application in-person or by mail. This requires them to provide general information about the case to make it easier for the court clerk to find the documents they are requesting. This information includes the names of the two divorced parties, the location of the divorce, and the date it took place. Fees will be charged, and the cost will vary depending on the county.

What Do I Need To Access Colorado Divorce Records?

When requesting divorce records, parties are required to provide proof of their relationship to the divorced parties, documentation justifying their legal interest, and valid identification.

Examples of valid identification include:

  • Alien Registration Receipt/Permanent Resident Card
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship Birth certificate of Applicant (U.S. only)
  • Jail Temporary Inmate ID: Denver or Pueblo County Court order for Adoption or Name Change
  • Colorado Department of Corrections ID card Craft or Trade License (Colorado only)
  • Colorado Department of Human Services Youth
  • Corrections ID
  • Colorado Temporary Driver’s License/State ID (must be current)
  • Divorce Decree (U.S. only)
  • Employment Authorization Card (I–766) Colorado Gaming License
  • Foreign Passport Hospital Birth Worksheet (within 6 months of birth)
  • Government Work ID Colorado Hunting or Fishing License (must be current)
  • Job Corps ID Card Foreign or International Driving License (with photo)
  • US Merchant Mariner Card/Book IRS-ITIN Card/Letter
  • Driver’s License/ID Card (DMV—U.S. only) Marriage License/Certificate (U.S. only)
  • School, University or College ID Card (must be current) Medicare Card
  • Temporary Resident Card Mexican Voter Registration Card
  • U.S. B1/B2 Card with I–94 Motor Vehicle Registration or Title
  • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization Pilot License
  • U.S. Citizenship ID Card (I–197) State, Territorial or Federal Prison or Corrections ID Card
  • U.S. Military ID Card Social Security Card
  • U.S. Passport Book or Card

Accessing Colorado Divorce Records By Mail

For requesting parties to access a divorce verification by mail, include all aforementioned information, fees, and complete a request form. Once this is completed, mail to:

Vital Records - Certification

4300 Cherry Creek Drive South

Denver, Colorado 80246–1530

Mail-in requests are typically processed within thirty business days.

How Do I Access Colorado Divorce Records In-Person

To request Colorado divorce records in-person, visit the main center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Walk-in requests are often fulfilled on the same day. The address of the center is:

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Vital Records Section

4300 Cherry Creek Drive South

Denver, CO 80246

Who Can Obtain Divorce Records in Colorado?

Members of the public can access uncertified divorce records in Colorado. The involved parties and any lawyers involved in the case can access certified records.

Are Colorado Divorce Records Available Online?

The Colorado state government provides an online Official Web Portal to access divorce records. Third party websites may also be able to provide requesting parties with records, although it is not guaranteed.

How Do I Seal My Divorce Records in Colorado?

To seal a divorce record, the parties must submit a petition to be reviewed by a judge. The petition should state why the record should be sealed. For example, it is often argued in a petition that allowing public access to the record could be a violation of privacy rights. Another justification could be that allowing public viewing could be a threat to minors involved, financial security, or national security. It is ultimately up to the judge to decide whether or not to seal a record completely or redact certain details, which is why it is advised to speak to an attorney to craft an argument as to why the record should be sealed.

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