As with any relationship, some marriages run their course, and the couple chooses to separate. This could be caused by changes in personality, job stress, disagreements over parenting, and more. Ending a marriage is a major decision for most couples because it requires separating every part of your life, including insurance, taxes, and personal relationships. While it is familiar, divorce is not always the right option. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine if legal separation, which is when your relationship ends, but you remain legally married, is right for you.
What Is Legal Separation?
Some couples may need to remain married, even though they are no longer in a romantic relationship with their spouse, because they may lose insurance benefits otherwise, to have a lower tax rate, or for religious reasons. This can be accomplished through legal separation. You will follow the same process as a divorce and agree on terms for property division, child support, and more, but the legal relationship will not be ended.
Three Types of Separation in Denver, Colorado
Married couples often encounter challenges such as infidelity, money trouble, or religious disagreements. When these challenges appear, a couple may consider ending their marriage because they no longer want to be in a relationship with their spouse. In Colorado, there are three options for separation.
- Trial Separation: When a couple is considering ending their marriage relationship, they may not want to jump immediately to a legal separation or divorce. There may be problems that need to be resolved, such as rebuilding trust after infidelity or gauging whether they can be financially stable outside their marriage. A trial separation, where the couple lives apart for a while, may help them determine the right way to move forward.
- Legal Separation: Some couples want to end their personal or romantic relationship but still want to remain legally married. Legal separation follows the same process as a divorce, establishes agreements over things like child support, and can be completed in as little as three months. If a couple has differing religious beliefs, needs to keep insurance benefits, or does not want to impact their taxes as severely, they may choose a legal separation to end their relationship but not their legal marriage.
- Divorce: This is likely the most familiar path for most couples who are choosing to end their marriage. During a divorce, the couple will agree on terms for the care of any children, whether spousal support will be granted, and how their assets will be divided. Once this process is complete, they will finalize the divorce, and their marriage will be legally ended.
What You Need for a Legal Separation
When you file for legal separation, the process will be nearly identical to a divorce. The following steps are necessary.
- Determine how your assets will be divided, if spousal support will be paid, how any children will be cared for, and any other issues you need to resolve.
- File the petition for legal separation, listing a reason for the separation. Colorado is a no-fault state, so this could be as simple as stating that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
- Wait for at least ninety days for your petition to be seen by a judge and then granted.
Q: What Is Considered Legally Separated in Colorado?
A: Legal separation is a way to terminate your relationship with a spouse without actually ending your marriage. To complete a legal separation, you will follow essentially the same process as finalizing a divorce. This may be a preferred option for couples who do not wish to be together romantically but still want to remain legally married. Reasons could include religious requirements, keeping insurance coverage, or maintaining an inheritance.
Q: What Are the Three Types of Separation?
A: When a married couple in Colorado decides to end their relationship, they have options beyond only filing for divorce. Some may choose to pursue a trial separation to determine whether ending the relationship is the right choice for them. Others may file for a legal separation, which follows a similar process as filing for divorce but does not legally end the marriage, to keep insurance or benefits. It is up to each couple to determine the ideal form of separation for their situation.
Q: What Is Required for Separation in Colorado?
A: There are a few requirements that must be met before you can file for legal separation in the state of Colorado. At least one spouse must have lived in the state for at least ninety-one days prior to filing. You will also have to provide a reason for the separation, but this can simply be a statement that your marriage cannot be repaired. There will be a three-month waiting period before the separation is granted so you can make decisions about things like custody and spousal support.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Get Legally Separated in Colorado?
A: Finalizing a legal separation will take at least ninety days in Colorado. You will be required to create a plan for issues like asset division, child custody, and spousal support. Once this is completed, you will file your petition with the courts. It is not necessary to provide specific reasons for the separation, as Colorado is a no-fault state. There is a three-month waiting period to give you time to work out any other issues, then the separation will be approved by the judge.
Contact Woody Law Firm, LLC
When your marriage is no longer working, you may look for opportunities to end the relationship. Divorce is the most familiar way to legally end your marriage, but that is not always the right option. Some couples need to remain legally married so that they do not lose insurance coverage or so that they can keep an inheritance. In these circumstances, they can end the relationship but remain legally married through a legal separation. The team at Woody Law Firm, LLC, can help you determine if legal separation is right for you, resolve any issues related to custody or support, and finalize your separation. Contact us today for assistance.