Legal separation is known as a ‘legal situation where a married couple can’t continue to live together, but prefer not to end their marriage.’ A legal separation is considered an alternative to a standard divorce and/or annulment.
When a couple files for a legal separation after petitioning the court to legally recognize the separation, they gain the right to live apart while remaining married.
In Colorado, legal separation law finalizes every arrangement associated with a marriage, including financial and child custody arrangements involving the division of property/debt and child support. Legal separation leaves legal marriages ‘in tact,’ which allows both parties to take advantage of their established healthcare plans, insurance and/or military benefits.
As both parties are still in a marriage, they can’t remarry unless they obtain a dissolution.
Legal separation agreements in Colorado
A legal separation agreement is the legal document that both parties sign, detailing the distribution of arrangements involving child support, spousal support and/or living arrangements. In Colorado, a legal separation agreement can cover provisions for spousal maintenance (both spouses), property division, parental responsibilities, support and parenting time for children.
If either party requests a legal separation in Colorado, while the other party doesn’t agree, the court has a right to grant a legal separation.
In most cases, the attorney of either party will make an application to the court, allowing the judge to sign the agreement in place. Getting an attorney involved affords either spouse the legal protection they need, in the case of them coming to an agreement and/or deciding to back out of said agreement.
Legal separation in Colorado – benefits and disadvantages
Legal separations, as mentioned, aren’t divorces. They’re an agreement that ‘dissolves the legal commitments associated with marriage.’ Individuals who chose to get a legal separation gain the right to avoid fulfilling commitments if the other spouse enters into a legal obligation and/or contract like a loan.
Some spouses may agree to get a legal separation as a ‘stepping stone’ to their divorce. This allows one or both parties to consider entering a divorce if their situation requires a divorce. Alternatively, people get legal separations for the aforementioned reason—to lose the legal right to commit to legally bound situations from the other spouse.
Ultimately, legal separations are an alternative option for couples who don’t want a divorce.
Legal separations, however, may take as long as a divorce to finalize in Colorado. Much of the legal separation process is considered similar to a divorce, though instead awards both parties with a ‘decree of legal separation,’ apart from a decree of dissolution.
As mentioned, couples who want to eventually remarry must obtain a Colorado decree of dissolution. Couples in a legal separation can convert their decree of legal separation into a decree of dissolution after six months.
The content of this page is for general informational purposes only, and should not be considered advice in your case.