There are times when parties to a marriage and/or civil union decide that they want to end their relationship, however they do not wish to divorce. For example, the parties may decide that they want to remain married so that they can continue to share in certain benefits offered to married couples, such as shared health insurance. In these certain situations, it may make sense for the parties to consider petitioning the court for a legal separation rather than a divorce.
The benefit of entering into a legal separation is that the parties will go through the same process of a divorce where marital assets and debts are divided, orders are entered regarding spousal maintenance (alimony) and child support, and decisions are made about parenting time and decision-making for children (custody orders). Therefore, each party is able to move forward from the relationship with some clarity and resolution.
Although parties to a legal separation go through the same process as a divorce, at the end of their case, they remain legally married. While there are benefits to remaining married, there are downsides as well, including that neither party can remarry unless and until this marriage is legally dissolved. Fortunately, once a legal separation is granted by the court, either party may seek to convert the legal separation to a dissolution of marriage after a short-waiting period.
While there are certainly situations where a legal separation makes sense, parties should carefully consider whether they really do desire to remain legally married after all legal matters are resolved and the relationship is ended.
It is often helpful to discuss your questions about legal separation with a qualified Colorado divorce attorney to weigh the pros and cons of a legal separation versus a divorce. Laura Monty Law, LLC is able to assist parties in making the decision on which legal avenue best fits their needs. To set up an initial consultation with Ms. Monty, please contact us at 970-797-3407 or through our online Contact Us form.