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Legal Separation in Colorado Springs, CO

Counsel from a Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney

For many couples, the first step toward getting a divorce is to file a petition for legal separation. There are many reasons why you may file for separation before filing for divorce. First, legal separation offers the opportunity to test out terms for a divorce without the finality of a dissolution of marriage. Once you divorce, after all, you will have to abide by the terms of the final decree of dissolution, and petitioning for a modification to court orders can be a considerable challenge.

If your religious convictions prohibit divorce, then legal separation makes it possible for you to effectively end the marriage without violating your beliefs. There is also the possibility that you and your spouse still want to save the marriage but would prefer to work on the relationship without the pressure of living in close quarters. Legal separation can provide the parameters for such a trial arrangement. Finally, if you have lived in Colorado for less than 90 days, legal separation enables you to bring about the conditions of divorce while you wait to meet the residency requirement.

Legal Separation With and Without Children

The state of Colorado makes a distinction between legal separations between spouses who do have children and spouses with no children. Legal separation without children will not involve negotiations about things like child support, custody and visitation. Below are some of the forms you might want to become familiar with:

Filing for Legal Separation Jointly vs. On Your Own

In Colorado, you can also choose to petition for legal separation on your own or jointly with your spouse. If you choose to file on your own, you will need to complete forms: JDF 1000, JDF 1101 and JDF 1102. If you choose to file jointly, you and your spouse will need to complete forms: JDF 1000 and JDF 1101. The only difference in initial filing forms is that filing on your own requires a "summons" form to notify the spouse of the legal decision to separate.

The rest of the legal separation process is the same whether you are filing jointly or separately. If, right before the final hearing, you and your spouse do not agree on all the issues, then you may have to attend mediation or contested hearings. If you and your spouse do agree on all the issues, then you must simply attend a final hearing so that the judge can issue a final decree and support order.

Legal Separation Agreements in Colorado Springs

When you legally separate, you and your spouse will have to work out agreements concerning the division of your shared assets and parental responsibilities. Your spouse can accept your terms for separation, or the two of you can negotiate a mutually acceptable arrangement. The agreement will address a number of subjects, including division of assets/debts, the payment of spousal support, child custody, visitation, and child support.

If, after a period of weeks or months, you find that these terms are untenable or are making life unnecessarily difficult, then it may be possible to petition the court for a modification to the agreement. After six months, a legal separation may be converted to a decree of dissolution of marriage. You can find additional information about legal separation and how it differs from divorce on our blog: Divorce and Legal Separation: Common Questions.

To learn more about the process and take your first steps toward legally separating from your spouse, contact a Colorado Springs divorce lawyer now at Clawson & Clawson, LLP for a free consultation.

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