Denver Dissolution of Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships, and Same-Sex Marriages

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Denver Dissolution Attorneys

Committing yourself to a long-term, romantic relationship with another person is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. In Colorado, there are several ways to have a legally recognized relationship. These include marriage, same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships, and civil unions. If one of these relationships ends, there are steps and legal procedures that must be followed to finalize the separation. An accomplished Denver family law attorney from Woody Law Firm, LLC, can walk with you through the process, regardless of the type of relationship that is ending.

Legally Recognized Relationships in Colorado

Not every relationship is the same in Denver, CO. For some people, marriage is the right way to solidify their relationship. Others are committed to each other but do not see the need for a legally binding marriage. For these couples, there are several ways that they can have their relationship legally recognized in Colorado.

  • Civil Union: Civil unions were first introduced and recognized in Colorado in 2013 with the Colorado Civil Union Act. This law created legal recognition for civil unions at the state level. This is extended to all couples, regardless of gender, so long as they are not related. Once a couple is in a recognized civil union, they also have the benefits, responsibilities, and protections of spouses. However, it does not provide any protection or recognition of the relationship at the federal level.
  • Domestic Partnership: This type of legally recognized relationship is similar to a civil union. It provides many of the same protections, responsibilities, and benefits as marriage. These relationships have a much broader scope, however, as they are available to unmarried couples in an intimate relationship who share a residence together. In Colorado, a domestic partnership is typically seen as the equivalent of a civil union.
  • Marriage: This is the most familiar type of legally recognized relationship. Couples can apply for and enter into a marriage relationship to receive the responsibilities, benefits, and protections of spouses, along with any other perks of a legal marriage. The process of marriage can often be very involved and take a great deal of time. This is one reason why some couples choose to avoid it.
  • Same-Sex Marriage: This type of legal relationship is the newest. Same-sex marriages became legally recognized on the federal level in 2015. For many years, the only opportunities available for same-sex couples were civil unions or domestic partnerships, which are not federally recognized or protected in many cases. These couples are now able to enjoy all the perks, responsibilities, and protections of marriage, just as any other mixed-sex couple.

Couples in Colorado can choose the type of relationship that meets their needs. Whether they choose to enter into a marriage relationship or prefer a civil union or domestic partnership, they are granted certain rights and protections. Unfortunately, there are plenty of circumstances where these relationships end. In these situations, there are certain legal processes that must be completed to dissolve the relationship.

Denver Dissolution of Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships, and Same-Sex Marriages

Dissolution of a Civil Union in Colorado

Civil unions that are ending will follow the same general process as a divorce. They must also meet several requirements. First, the union must have been granted in Colorado, or at least one spouse must have lived there for at least 91 days. The dissolution must be filed either in the county that granted the union or in the county where the responding spouse lives. Much like a divorce, the request to terminate a civil union can either be filed jointly or separately.

Once the process of dissolution has begun, there are several steps that must be completed.

  1. The correct paperwork will need to be gathered and completed.
  2. That paperwork will be filed with the courts.
  3. The other spouse will be formally notified of the proceedings.

Couples that are ending a civil union will also need to determine how any spousal support, child support, and child custody issues will be handled. This can be decided solely by the couple if they have a prior agreement in place. Otherwise, it can be worked out through a mediation process.

Dissolution of a Domestic Partnership in Colorado

Domestic partnerships are not always as legally binding as other relationships. There is not a requirement for the relationship to be registered with the state. This can potentially cause confusion if a domestic partnership ends. To avoid any of this conflict, it is wise to ensure that a domestic partnership is properly registered.

A domestic partnership can be dissolved for several different reasons. Some of the most common reasons a domestic partnership may end are:

  • One of the partners dies.
  • The partners no longer meet the requirements of a domestic partnership.
  • They no longer share a home or relationship.

To complete the dissolution of the relationship, the couple must file a Termination of Domestic Partnership application.

Dissolution of a Same-Sex Marriage in Colorado

Since same-sex marriages are recognized at the federal level, they can only be ended through a complete and finalized divorce process. The process for completing a divorce for a same-sex couple is no different than the divorce proceedings for a mixed-sex couple. Depending on the circumstances of the relationship, however, there may be complications or issues that are specific to a same-sex marriage. Some issues that same-sex couples may encounter include establishing parentage, unequal property division, uncertainty surrounding alimony, and more.

The Mediation Process in Colorado

In ideal circumstances, former partners can be civil and work together to reach the most equitable agreement when their relationship ends. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some couples are either unable or unwilling to compromise to reach an agreement, so additional help is needed. In these circumstances, mediation is often the right choice. However, it is also common for judges in Colorado to require mediation prior to a final decision being made.

Mediation involves a neutral third party, referred to as a mediator, meeting with both parties to find a solution to the disagreement. The mediator is specially trained to help the couple reach a compromise or consensus. This allows them to resolve any major disagreements they have during the dissolution of their relationship. A mediator will often:

  • Address each individual conflict or disagreement.
  • Find the root of the disagreement.
  • Present possible solutions.
  • Allow the involved parties to choose the option that works for them.

This process is not always required for the dissolution of a civil union, domestic partnership, or same-sex marriage, but it can be very helpful. Working with a neutral party can temper some of the more difficult emotions or frustrations. It can also provide an open space for discussion and resolution. An accomplished family law attorney can also assist you through the mediation process.

How a Denver Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you are not familiar with the legal system, it can be difficult to know what steps are necessary in the dissolution of your relationship. There is likely a great deal of paperwork and documentation, potential court appearances, and mediation when it is necessary. These things can all make the entire process feel stressful and overwhelming. Working with an experienced Denver family law attorney can make the process easier to manage. Three key ways that a family law attorney can help are:

  • Education: Attorneys that work with the dissolution of relationships have dedicated years of their lives to studying and understanding the laws. They work throughout each year to ensure that they are up to date with any changes or amendments to existing laws. That way, they can assist their clients most effectively. Their education allows them to analyze the specific details of each case, determine any potential challenges or struggles, and create a plan of action for each client.
  • Experience: An accomplished family law attorney has worked with a variety of clients with diverse needs and circumstances through the years. They have seen cases that were successful and equitable for their clients, and they have seen cases that were not successful. This experience helps them to assess the specific circumstances and needs of each case. This allows them to ensure that they create the most effective plan of action.
  • Support: The process of ending a relationship is always painful, even under ideal circumstances. The addition of a possible legal battle can make the process of dissolution seem overwhelming. An experienced Denver family law attorney can walk you through every step of the process. They have the resources, insights, information, and guidance that can give you peace of mind.

Contact Woody Law Firm, LLC, for Assistance With the Legal Dissolution of a Relationship

With any relationship that is legally recognized, there are certain steps that must be followed for the relationship to be dissolved. This process can be difficult to understand and complete if you are not familiar with the legal system. The support, guidance, resources, and insight you can receive from working with an accomplished Denver attorney can be invaluable. Contact the team at Woody Law Firm, LLC, today if you are seeking the dissolution of a civil union, same-sex marriage, or domestic partnership.

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