An experienced Denver legal separation lawyer from Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C can help if you choose to legally separate from your partner.
For couples in Colorado who wish to live separately and have defined divisions in their financial and parenting affairs, there is an alternative to divorce. Legal separation resolves the same issues as a divorce while allowing couples to remain legally married for their own personal reasons.
A legal separation isn’t as simple as just deciding to live separately with one spouse leaving the marital home. Instead, it’s a binding legal contract settling issues of child custody and the separation of assets and debts just like a divorce, only with the couple remaining legally married until they decide how to proceed or indefinitely. It’s designed to protect both parties by ensuring that one spouse isn’t left with an undue financial burden.
Legal separation requires diligent document preparation, thorough negotiation of financial assets, and timely filing of court documents. A Denver legal separation lawyer has years of experience in these areas of Colorado law, helping to make the process as painless as possible. They act as peaceful, impartial mediators during a time of transition and protect your legal rights throughout the process while minimizing conflict with the opposite spouse.
A skilled, experienced Denver legal separation attorney may have solutions to custody arrangements and asset division that you never thought of in order to simplify the process and make the transition as easy as possible for the entire family.
Whether a couple files for divorce or legal separation, Colorado courts require that they at least attempt to negotiate a reasonable separation agreement. Typically this involves attorneys for both parties representing their client’s best interests while determining matters of property division, child custody, and child/spousal support. If the separation agreement is fair and both parties agreed to it, a judge is likely to simply approve the agreement as it stands. If a couple can’t reach an agreement or the agreement is egregiously inequitable, a judge will decide on terms for separation.
It’s in a couple’s best interest to make their own separation agreement rather than leave it in the hands of a judge who isn’t as familiar with their unique family situation as they are themselves.
Colorado is one of 44 states that recognize legal separation. A legal separation agreement resolves matters of custody and asset division between spouses just as in a divorce while the couple remains legally married. It addresses all legal issues just as in a divorce for the protection of both parties and any children of the relationship. It is not a shortcut, since the process takes as much time and legal work as a divorce, however, it does leave the option open for reuniting without requiring a second marriage ceremony.
Couples choose a separation agreement either as a stepping stone to the future if they hope to reunite but feel divorce is a possibility, as a means of legal protection during a trial separation, or to remain wed indefinitely while living apart. A legal separation settles the following issues regardless of the couple’s intentions for the future of the marriage:
A Denver family lawyer safeguards their client’s interests throughout negotiations during a separation agreement for a legal separation just as in a divorce.
At Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C., we offer skilled representation for men and women seeking to file for legal separation. We can handle all separation-related issues, including:
In Colorado, the legal separation process is the same as divorce. All property is divided equitably and arrangements are made for children’s issues such as custody and support. While spouses are not able to remarry while separated, they are able to move on with their lives while having the option of converting the separation to divorce upon request.
The most common reasons couples choose legal separation over divorce are religious and philosophical opposition to divorce, the need to maintain health insurance, and simply just not being ready for divorce. In some cases, the separation provides spouses with the space they need to address the issues present in their marriage and make a decision on how to proceed.
Most couples give careful consideration when contemplating divorce. No one goes into a marriage believing it will one day end and few people take that ending lightly. That’s why a legal separation is a viable alternative to divorce for many Colorado couples. It offers the financial and parental protection of a divorce without severing the legal and emotional ties completely, leaving the door open for reconciliation. It also sets parameters for living and co-parenting separately while still providing for some of the benefits of marriage such as shared medical insurance benefits, social security, tax benefits, and pensions.
While a legally separated couple cannot remarry, they can choose to proceed to a divorce in the event of new relationships or may choose to resume their marriage after spending time apart since a legal separation does not end a marriage but only sets legal boundaries and protections in place while living separately.
Couples may choose to remain legally separated indefinitely if their religious beliefs don’t allow divorce. Because Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, a couple needs only to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken for a legal separation or a divorce and do not have to prove any wrongdoing on the other’s part.
Many couples choose legal separation for a variety of advantages since it offers safeguards for parenting time, asset division, and child support without permanently severing the marriage ties. Some additional benefits include the following:
No matter what a couple’s reason for choosing a legal separation in Colorado rather than a divorce, it can be a good legal option either while spouses take time apart to decide whether to reunite or to seek a permanent dissolution. It can also serve as a way to live apart indefinitely while still retaining some of the benefits of legal marriage.
In order to file a legal separation Colorado couples must meet certain requirements and legal obligations. At least one of the petitioners must be a Colorado resident for 91 days or more. As in divorce, first, they must file a petition for legal separation with at least one ground for divorce. Because Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, the grounds can simply be an irretrievably broken marriage.
After filing, there is a 90-day waiting period during which the courts strongly advise the couple to seek mediation for the equitable division of assets, child and/or spousal support, and the resolution of child custody and parental visitation agreements. If a couple is unable to come to an agreement, the court decides for them.
Finally, the legal separation must remain in place for at least 6 months before the court can transition the separation into a final divorce should the parties agree to move forward with a full dissolution of their marriage.
An experienced Denver legal separation lawyer can answer any questions you have about legal separation in Colorado and represent your interests throughout negotiations and in court.
While you cannot remarry while legally separated, you are free to date other people. For some couples, this can be the way to determine their futures either together or apart. Though dating is acceptable and not considered bigamy under Colorado law, you cannot cohabitate with another person unless divorced because it may impact your financial situation during the separation or give a spouse new grounds for divorce.
Separated couples can certainly date each other during a legal separation. In fact, many spouses find their way to reconciliation by dating again.
Colorado courts protect children’s best interests during legal separation just as in divorce. This means it considers meaningful relationships with both parents in a child’s best interests in most cases. If parents can’t reach a mutually agreed-upon arrangement for child custody, the courts will decide which parent can best provide a stable home, ample food, clothing, and structure for a child, as well as love and support, when deciding on primary custody. The court considers a child’s best interest when deciding on physical custody, legal custody, and visitation schedules for the non-custodial parent.
A legal separation requires a filed petition and a judge’s decision on financial and child-custody issues just like a divorce. A trial separation doesn’t require any legal petition but instead relies on a verbal agreement between spouses to live apart for a specific or non-specific amount of time while leaving the terms of support and visitation up to the individuals to decide rather than a judge. Unlike a legal separation, a trial separation does not put any legal protections into place for either spouse.
Our legal separation attorneys, handpicked by renowned Denver family law attorney Cynthia L. Ciancio, understand what it takes to protect the rights of our clients during a separation and can help you gain an understanding of your rights. Contact us to schedule a case evaluation with our lawyers.