QUESTION:

What is the difference between simply separating from my spouse, a legal separation and a divorce?

ANSWER:


1. A “Separation” simply means that the two of you are now living apart. You do not need to file court documents in order to separate, but you should talk to an attorney about several important issues prior to moving out:

    1. The payment of joint and/or household bills
    2. The creation of a parenting plan.

2. To obtain a “Legal Separation” you must file a petition with the Court.
In many ways, filing for a legal separation will require the same amount of time, effort, and money as it will take to obtain a divorce. When filing for legal separation and/or divorce, you will address the division of marital assets and debts, the allocation of parental rights, and orders for maintenance when applicable.

The primary difference is that following a legal separation, you are still married.

Some couples choose to file for a legal separation rather than for divorce because of religious beliefs, moral values, or to maintain health insurance coverage.

3. If you decide to obtain a “Divorce”, you will file a petition for the dissolution of marriage with your county court. The minimum amount of time to obtain a divorce in the State of Colorado is 90 days, but could take longer depending on the Court’s docket. When filing for legal separation and/or divorce, you will address the division of marital assets and debts, the allocation of parental rights, and orders for maintenance when applicable.

If you are considering filing for divorce or legal separation, it is important to consult with an experienced Colorado family law attorney who will help you to understand your rights and options according to Colorado law before you act.