Making the choice to formally and legally end your marriage is a difficult one. Even in relatively amicable situations in which both parties commit to working peacefully together, it can complex to deal with issues such as property division and child custody. In some cases, a Colorado couple may want to live separately but refrain from moving forward with the divorce process at the time.
When divorce is not an option but remaining together is not an option either, it may be beneficial to move forward with a legal separation. This is different from divorce in many ways, but it can provide certain protections and security as you begin a new life separate from your partner. There is more involved with a legal separation than simply moving out.
What does legal separation mean?
A legal separation allows a couple to live apart and have a formal arrangement that outlines rights and responsibilities while remaining married. Like a divorce order, the separation arrangement will address issues that include the following:
- Division of debt accumulated over the course of the marriage
- Distribution of marital property
- Child custody and visitation schedules
- Which party will remain in the family home
- Spousal support and other types of financial support
There are many similarities between divorce and legal separation, but you will remain married to your spouse during this time. However, it is possible to use your legal separation agreement as the foundation for a workable and beneficial divorce order if you decide to move forward with that process in the future.
Various reasons could contribute to a couples need to remain married yet live separately. Perhaps you and your spouse are not sure if you want to divorce, or there may be religious, financial or practical reasons to opt for legal separation instead of divorce.
Shielding your interests
Regardless of your reasons for opting for legal separation over divorce, it is still a major family law decision. It is critical to take steps to protect your interests and work diligently for an agreement that is sustainable and fair.
If you need to draft a legal separation agreement, you will find it beneficial to first seek a complete evaluation of your case and explanation of your legal options and rights. This will help you make choices and pursue specific terms that will provide you security and peace of mind as you move forward with this transition.