In Colorado, there is a difference between being physically separated from your spouse (living at separate addresses) and being legally separated from your spouse (having a Decree of Legal Separation).Read More
I am frequently asked about the difference between a legal separation and a dissolution of marriage. An individual’s motivation for seeking a separation, rather than a dissolution, varies, and can include religious reasons, protection of property, or wanting to leave the option for reconciliation open. This article discusses the differences between a legal separation and a dissolution in Colorado.
If a petition for dissolution is filed, one party can request that the court enter a decree of legal separation instead. Unless the other party objects, the court must grant a legal separation, rather than a dissolution.
Functionally, the process for obtaining a legal separation is the same as for a dissolution of marriage. This is the largest disadvantage, since the process for separation is not any easier than for a dissolution. Both parties will exchange financial disclosures, and the court will enter orders for maintenance and division of property. If there are children, the court will also set a parenting time schedule and order child support.
The main difference between a legal separation and a dissolution of the marriage is the legal effect of the decree. After a decree of separation is issued, the parties remain legally married. Thus, neither party can remarry. However, many benefits, including insurance and military benefits, may still be available. If you are concerned about retaining these benefits, speak to an experienced attorney, who can offer advice.
After a decree of separation is entered, either party can ask the court to convert the decree to a dissolution. If more than 182 days have passed since the decree of separation was issued, the court must convert the decree upon the request of a party, regardless of whether the other party objects.
For many people, a divorce is their first encounter with the legal system. As a result, many of the terms used by attorneys and judges are unfamiliar.Read More