Divorce vs. Legal Separation in Colorado: Which is Right for You?

Legal separation and divorce have similar characteristics. However, the two are fundamentally different legal actions.

If you are considering either of these marital actions in Colorado, you need a firm understanding of each before deciding. The following briefly describes legal separation and divorce, along with their key points.

By no means is this article a substitution for legal advice. The best way to determine whether legal separation or divorce is proper for you is to discuss your case with an experienced Colorado family law attorney.

What is Divorce in Colorado?

A divorce, or Dissolution of Marriage in Colorado, is the legal termination of a marriage. Upon a divorce, spouses are free to remarry a new partner.

A divorce decree also contains any orders regarding the division of marital property and debts, orders of spousal maintenance, child support, and child custody (if applicable).

What is Legal Separation in Colorado?

As in a divorce, a legal separation ends in a decree. That decree divides marital property and debts, and orders spousal maintenance, child support, and child custody (if applicable).

A legal separation decree DOES NOT terminate the spouses’ marriage. The spouses are not free to remarry a new partner because they remain married.

Can a Legal Separation Become a Divorce?

A legal separation can be converted into a divorce before a legal separation decree is issued. It can also be converted into a divorce six months after the legal separation decree is issued.

What are the Benefits of a Legal Separation?

There are several reasons spouses may choose a legal separation over a divorce. Often, spouses remain legally married for health insurance benefits or tax purposes.

Other reasons to remain married but legally separate include:

  • Religious beliefs;
  • The hope of reconciliation;
  • Inheritance rights; and
  • Retirement benefits.

Before legally separating, it is wise to check with benefits providers to ensure legally separated spouses qualify for insurance and other policy benefits. Certain insurers disallow legally separated spouses’ policyholder benefits.

Is it Faster or Less Expensive to Choose a Legal Separation?

A legal separation takes approximately the same time and costs the same as a traditional divorce. The spouses must resolve the same issues as in a divorce case before a decree is ordered.

The main difference between a legal separation decree and a divorce decree is that a legal separation decree does not dissolve the spouses’ marriage. The court processes are nearly identical.

Get Experienced Help with Your Broomfield Legal Separation or Divorce Today

If you are unsure whether a legal separation or divorce suits your situation, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Danielsen Westhoff, PC, today. We offer compassionate, honest counsel to help you make life’s most difficult decisions.

Danielsen Westhoff, PC, can guide you through the pros and cons of a legal separation vs. a divorce so you can be confident you made the right choice. You can reach Danielsen Westhoff, PC, in Broomfield by calling us at (720) 649-4876 or contacting us online to set up an initial consultation.