The 91-day Rule for a Divorce in Colorado

You may have heard about the 91-day rule in Colorado, which is that a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage cannot be ordered by a Colorado court unless at least 91 days have elapsed since the parties filed their divorce case (if filing jointly) or when the Respondent was served with the petition.  One purpose of this rule is to ensure that parties who want to follow through with their divorce have had time to decide whether they want to reconcile their marriage.

The reality of the 91 day rule is that it usually does not have much of an effect on a case.  It is typical for a case to take longer than 91 days to settle, and if the case goes all the way to a final hearing with a judge, then the case would have usually taken a lot longer than the 91 days to be resolved.  Conversely, if a case settles very quickly, and the parties have signed their separation agreement and filed all of their documents prior to the 91st day, then the parties are usually already going to perceive their marriage to have already been dissolved even though the Decree has not yet entered.

There are a lot of potentially complicated matters to consider when a person is contemplating filing for divorce, but the 91-day period issue is usually not one of them.  On the other hand, if you are in the middle of a divorce case and want to try and reconcile the marriage, you can notify the court of your request, and the court may agree to put your case on hold to allow the parties to try and reconcile.  Reconciliation can certainly happen at any time until a decree is filed, so it is best to let the court know if you want to try and reconcile with your spouse before it is too late. If you have questions about how this issue affects your case, do not hesitate to call our office right away.