As a divorce attorney in the El Paso County, Colorado, I am often asked what a legal separation is and what it entails. In this article, I will describe the aspects of a legal separation.
A legal separation is not the same as being physically separated nor is it the same as a divorce or dissolution of marriage. A legal separation does not dissolve the marriage. Additionally, it authorizes the parties to live separately. Further, a legal separation will order any property acquired by either spouse after the date of the decree as separate property of that spouse.
Some of the primary reasons parties may opt for a legal separation over a divorce is due to religious purposes or for health care costs so that one spouse can still remain insured on the insurance of the other spouse.
Also, since the legal separation does not dissolve the marriage, neither spouse can remarry without first converting the legal separation to a dissolution of marriage.
Generally, a legal separation has the same procedures and time flow as a dissolution of marriage in the State of Colorado. At the end, the parties get a Decree of Legal Separation instead of a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
Legal Statute for Legal Separation
Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 14-10-120(2), no earlier than one hundred eighty-two days after the entry of a decree of legal separation, on motion of either party and proof that notice has been mailed to the other at his or her last known address, the court shall convert the legal separation to a decree of dissolution of marriage or divorce. Thus, if you get a decree of legal separation and want to convert it to a divorce, it will take a little over six months before you can convert it.
As this article described, a legal separation is different than a divorce. If you have questions about a legal separation and how it differs from a divorce, contact the family law attorneys at Springs Law Group LLC in Colorado Springs, Colorado at 719.421.7141 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss the best steps in preparing for your case.