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How Is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?

When couples decide their marriage is not working anymore, they have two primary legal solutions: legal separation or divorce. Depending on your goals, you and your spouse may opt for either option. Whether you already know which way you want to address the next step of your relationship, or are still debating which solution to choose, consulting an experienced divorce and family law attorney can help you understand in detail what the legal path you are choosing entails.

Divorce and legal separation can address similar concerns such as the distribution of marital property or determining whether one spouse may receive alimony payments. You can also resolve such matters through out-of-court negotiations or litigation.

Some states provide annulments as a legal option that voids your marriage. Colorado does not offer this exact option, but you can discuss the possibility of obtaining a “declaration of invalidity” with a family law attorney if this applies to your situation.

Do You Want to Terminate Your Marriage?

If you are determined to dissolve your marriage, divorce is the usual option for couples who want to build a future separately. However, certain religions prohibit divorce, or some couples want to maintain certain financial or health benefits they get while married. In such cases, you may file for legal separation. While you and your spouse remain legally married, you can live independently. People may choose to legally separate for a wide range of reasons, including maintaining the family unit by avoiding a divorce when they share young children.

The greatest difference between legal separation and divorce is whether you are at liberty or willing to formally terminate your marriage. If you are legally separated, you cannot remarry unless you get formally divorced.

Types of Legal Separations and Divorces in Colorado

Whether you are considering a legal separation or a divorce in Colorado, you need to address various matters, including:

However, depending on your situation, the state may have specific requirements. If you are pursuing a legal separation, you need to file different forms depending on whether you and your spouse share one or more minor children. If you and your spouse decide to file for legal separation, you also have the option of filing jointly or by yourself.

In the case of a divorce, you may choose an uncontested divorce if you and your spouse can agree on all matters concerning the dissolution of your marriage, or a contested divorce. A contested divorce happens even if both parties disagree on a single issue. No matter what type of divorce you are opting for, Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, which means you do not have to demonstrate the other party’s fault when filing for divorce.

If you are unsure which type of divorce fits your needs and goals, you should speak with an experienced divorce lawyer who can carefully evaluate your case and discuss your legal options.

Can You File for Divorce If You Are Already Legally Separated?

Yes, you can file for divorce if you and your spouse are legally separated. Some people choose to use the legal separation option to determine whether they can salvage their marriage but need space to find solutions on their own and together.

Some couples may also choose legal separation while they have young children before eventually moving on to divorce once the children are older.

In certain cases, one of the spouses desires to remarry and thus needs to obtain a divorce to move on with their personal life.

Choose Clawson & Clawson, LLP as Your Legal Separation or Divorce Lawyer

Colorado laws do not require you to hire an attorney when filing for legal separation or divorce, but consulting a lawyer can make a significant difference in protecting your rights and assets. At Clawson & Clawson, LLP, our team is available to review your situation and discuss your options even if you are unsure which legal solution to pursue yet.

We have extensive experience in all types of legal separation and divorces, including military divorces, and our attorneys can assist you whether you opt for amicable negotiations or go to trial. No matter the simplicity or complexity of your situation, we are dedicated to ensuring you receive a fair ruling that benefits you and your family. Our staff can address any questions or concerns you may have at any step of the legal process, and we can also represent you if you wish to petition for any court order modification after a judge finalizes your legal separation or divorce.

Are you considering filing for a legal separation or a divorce in Colorado Springs or the Denver Metro Area? Call Clawson & Clawson, LLP, today at (719) 602-5888 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation!

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