Legal Separation in Colorado
Are you considering a legal separation as an alternative to divorce? For some couples who are not ready to confront the drastic changes of a divorce, a legal separation may be the best viable option, either on a temporary basis or for the long term.
Whether you decide to proceed with a legal separation, or you and your spouse opt for a divorce, a Colorado family attorney at Jones Law Firm, PC could help evaluate your options and find the right solution.
When people are considering legal separation, they often have questions. Some of the most common include:
What are the differences between legal separation and divorce?
After a legal separation in Colorado, the spouses remain married in the eyes of the law, and accordingly cannot get remarried. By contrast, a divorce terminates the marriage completely. The biggest difference between separation and divorce is that divorce gives spouses freedom to remarry, while legal separation does not.
When couples are legally separated, it also may be possible for them to receive spousal benefits, which cannot happen if they are divorced. These benefits can include retirement, social security, and insurance benefits and can depend on the policy providers. Also, legally separated spouses in Colorado retain their inheritance rights and may be able to file taxes in the same way as other married couples, while divorced spouses lose inheritance rights and the tax advantages of marriage.
What are the similarities between legal separation and divorce?
Legal separation and divorce have many things in common, such as:
- In legal separation and divorce, property is divided. The partners can no longer accumulate property jointly once the legal separation is in place absent a written agreement specifying any joint ownership.
- All debts and assets accumulated after legal separation are the sole responsibility of the spouse that acquired them, just as they are after a divorce.
- Both divorce and legal separation require spouses to reach agreements on financial matters, including spousal and child support.
- Both divorce and legal separation also require spouses to come to an agreement regarding parenting.
If the couple cannot agree on key terms, the court will make the decisions. Whether a couple is seeking separation or divorce, it is wise for each partner to work with an experienced family law attorney who is prepared to protect their interests.
What does legal separation in Colorado mean?
Legal separation occurs when couples divide assets and live separate lives, but are still legally married. To obtain a legal separation, the couple must petition the court for legal separation. There is a mandatory minimum 91-day period before the court can act. Details including child custody and property division will be determined either by the couple or by the court. Once the judge signs off on the separation agreement, both spouses are free to live financially independently.
How long can you be legally separated in Colorado?
There is no expiration date for legal separation in Colorado. Some couples stay legally separated for good, while others choose to divorce to officially end the marriage after the passage of some time. It is important to note that after the court finalizes your legal separation, you must wait at least six months before your legal separation can be converted toa divorce.
What’s the benefit of a legal separation?
Couples have many different reasons for choosing legal separation over divorce. A separated couple can share certain financial benefits while remaining insulated from many financial risks. They can also avoid the stigma that is sometimes attached to divorce. Whether for emotional, religious, or financial reasons, many valid concerns can make legal separation a more favorable alternative.
There are some key differences to consider when exploring legal separation. A consultation with a knowledgeable attorney can help you understand key provisions so you can make an informed decision.
Do you have to pay spousal support during separation?
Just as spouses often seek spousal support during and after a divorce, they may also request support during legal separation. If the parties do not agree to terms, a judge can decide whether either spouse is entitled to support. Spousal support is typically not guaranteed, and the award and duration will depend on the circumstances.
Taking the Next Step with Our Denver Legal Separation Attorneys
If legal separation is an option you would like to explore further, our firm can facilitate the planning process and help you and your spouse reach agreements that are mutually beneficial. Contact Jones Law Firm, PC to schedule a meeting with one of our family attorneys to discuss your options and goals. Our legal separation attorneys are skilled in all aspects pertaining to the legal separation process and will apply this experience to your case with the respect and legal support you deserve.
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