What is a Legal Separation in Colorado?

Filed Under (Divorce and Legal Separation) on 05-03-2012

What is Legal Separation, Legal Separation Forms, Legally Separated

A legal separation is the legal process that declares marriage partners to be separate persons, not responsible for each other. It is the same as divorce, or dissolution of marriage, except that neither person can remarry and the right to inherit is not terminated except by written agreement.

Why choose legal separation?

Some couples aren’t sure they want to divorce. A legal separation is a way to separate; to divide property; to end mutual responsibility for each other’s support and debts except as agreed; and to take a good look at the relationship—while making divorce one easy step away.

What are the benefits of a legal separation?

1.    Some religions forbid or frown on divorce. Legal separation lets you lead separate lives without divorcing.

2.    Many kinds of health insurance, and some survivor benefits or life insurance connected with retirement plans, will still cover or benefit legally-separated persons while they cut off people who are divorced.

3.    Social Security can be figured on the basis of a former spouse’s earnings instead of one’s own if the marriage lasted 10 years or more and, if at the time, you are not married to someone else. If your marriage is close to 10 years’ old, it might be good financial planning to do a legal separation until you reach the 10-year mark. You can then divorce.

If you are unsure about whether to do a legal separation or a divorce, start by researching the financial implications with your employer’s benefits administrator or personnel office. Find out which benefits, if any, apply to non-employee spouses after either a legal separation or a divorce. Find out what your respective Social Security benefits are now, and what they are projected to be. Some careful research now may save you thousands of dollars in benefits later.

How do I get a legal separation in Colorado?

The procedure for getting a legal separation is generally the same as for a divorce. Before the court can enter a decree of legal separation, you or the court must divide your marital property and debts, determine your parenting plan, set child support and/or maintenance (alimony/spousal support), and file the necessary divorce and legal separation paperwork.

For information about how to get a legal separation, check out the “Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Colorado” by M. Arden Hauer, MA, JD