Although Colorado allows you to file an Answer disputing the divorce, if one party wants the divorce, the Court has to order the divorce. I was formerly a judge here in Colorado and I am not aware of the mandatory counseling that you mention. I definitely agree that marital counseling and mediation are the correct routes to go in any divorce and the decision should not be taken lightly. However, I do not know of any judge that has forced a party against their will to go into marital counseling if they are resistant to it. There is a mandatory 120-day "cooling off" period with any divorce that is filed before a decree can be entered. That is done specifically to encourage the parties to attempt to reconcile or at least attempt to mediate their disputes. When I was a judge, the last thing that I wanted to do was be thrown in the middle of parties' personal issues in a divorce. Judges typically dislike having to sit on the domestic relations bench, but it is part of most districts' rotations. You can file an Answer objecting to the divorce and asking that the Court direct the parties seek marital counseling. There is a parenting class that both of you will need to attend because of having children. However, it all depends on your wife's willingness to discuss reconciling and trying to work things out. If she is adamant about the divorce and refusing counseling, there is not much that you or the judge can do about it.
As set forth by Mr. Leroi, if one party wants a divorce, the court will grant the divorce. The court will mandate mediation to help resolve divorce issues, but the court will not mandate counseling to help prevent the divorce.
Legal disclaimer: Answering this quetion does not establish an attorney client relation. The answer is for educational purposes only. You should consult an attorney for your specific circumstances.
Under C.R.S. 14-10-110, if one party contests the assertion that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may make a finding regarding whether the marriage is broken or continue the matter and may suggest that the parties engage in counseling.
The judge can only suggest, but cannot require counseling. If your wife remains adamant that she wants a divorce, the judge will find the marriage to be irretrievably broken. Under current law, there is no way to prevent a divorce if one spouse wants it.
You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or info@Harkess-Salter.com. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.
As other attorneys have stated, if one party is bound and determined to get a divorce, a divorce is going to occur, assuming all requirements are met. By statute, a judge can suggest that parties attend counseling prior to making a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken, but I've found no authority that would allow a judge to order that. Judges really don't want to determine for others if a marriage is irretrievably broken - if one party believes that it is, for all intents and purposes, it is. The only real process that would encourage parties to work things out is the mediation process (mandatory in some jurisdictions, encouraged in others), but this focuses primarily on resolving issues such as parenting time and property division rather than on saving the marriage.
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