Colorado law allows legal separation in place of dissolution of marriage (divorce). The procedure to obtain a legal separation is the same as the procedure to obtain a divorce. The primary legal differences are the form of the order at the end of the case, and the fact that the marriage technically survives, so the parties may not remarry without a subsequent dissolution of marriage. Accordingly, legal separation should not be expected to be faster or cheaper than a divorce.
Legal separation requires the same division of assets and parenting decisions as divorce. Marital property does not accrue after the separation, and federal taxes may not be filed jointly following legal separation. To grant legal separation, the court must find that a marriage is irretrievable, and that both parties agree to a legal separation instead of a divorce.
So why ask for legal separation instead of divorce? A legal separation acts like a divorce in most ways, but parties to a legal separation can still take advantage of certain benefits, such as some insurance plans which cover spouses. However, some plans do not provide coverage for a ‘spouse’ after legal separation. Others make the choice for religious reasons.
If you are considering legal separation instead of dissolution of marriage, call (303) 993-5512 to talk to a divorce attorney about which option best fits your personal circumstances.