Requirements for Legal Separation in Colorado

Requirements for Legal Separation in Colorado

While many couples turn to divorce to end their lives together, some might find a viable option in a legal separation. Separation is quite similar to a divorce, with the exception that the couple is still legally married. Colorado doesn’t require much for couples to request a separation.

Legal separation is different from divorce. The big difference between divorce and separation in Colorado is that separation in itself doesn’t legally end the marriage. Only a legal divorce can end a marriage. Spouses who aren’t divorced aren’t free to remarry. Couples choose separation over divorce for various reasons, including religious reasons, insurance, tax, military, or other job benefits, testing the waters for a divorce, avoiding the possible stigma of divorce, and many others. 

If you’re considering a legal separation, you might be wondering if you qualify under Colorado law or if you should reach out to an Aurora Legal Separation Lawyer. It’s likely that you do qualify, and having an attorney on your side can help ensure the process goes smoothly and that your legal rights are protected.  

Also read: Legal Separation vs. Divorce in Colorado

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Colorado Legal Separation Requirements

Even though they are different, the legal process for separation in Colorado is identical to the process for divorce.

  1. At least one spouse has to have lived in the state for a minimum of 91 days before you can file for separation.
  2. A petition must be filed with the appropriate court, and you must wait at least 90 days before the court will do anything about your case. It’s a good idea to hire an Aurora Legal separation Attorney who can help determine if you meet the requirements and help you with the legal filings.
  3. The petition for separation has to list a legal reason or grounds for the separation. As a no-fault divorce state, Colorado doesn’t require specific reasons as to why the couple wants to separate. They can simply tell the court that their marriage is broken beyond repair and that reconciliation is impossible.

Negotiating the Terms of Your Separation

The three-month waiting period is designed to encourage couples to negotiate the terms of their separation agreement. They need to settle on issues such as asset division, alimony, child support, and child custody. If you are unable to negotiate an agreement, the court will decide one on your behalf. After the court order is signed, each spouse can live their separate life as long as they adhere to the separation agreement. If one spouse decides they want to get divorced, they must wait a minimum of six months after the court order is signed.

If you decide to get divorced after the waiting period, our separation attorneys can then help you with every step of that process. We can also help if you decide not to be separated any longer.

The Colorado Legal Separation Process

This is also basically the same as Colorado’s divorce process, with a tweak or two. You must reside in the state for at least three months before you are eligible to file a legal separation here.

  1. The couple must draw up an agreement outlining how they will divide up their assets, how they will share custody of any mutual children (as well as child support), alimony or spousal maintenance, and any other issues (such as if they agree to date others or whatever else is relevant to their situation).
  2. Then you will file the necessary legal separation documents with the court in the county where you live. You’ll sign the petition in front of a notary together. There will also be a $230 filing fee to pay.
  3. After 90 days, a judge will review your case and then rule that the marriage is irretrievably broken, granting the legal separation. At any point, one of the spouses can convert the proceeding to a divorce.

Colorado Legal Separation FAQs

I don’t have children with my spouse/partner. How do I get a legal separation?

Colorado law allows people to legally separate instead of getting a full divorce. The process of legal separation is like a divorce case, except you remain legally married. You or your spouse petitions the court for a legal separation, and you must resolve all financial issues, including possible spousal support and property division since you will be living separately. If you don’t have children, you will only need to resolve property and financial issues. Make sure that you file your legal separation in the proper court.

I have children with my spouse/partner. How do I get a legal separation?

As mentioned, you will need to resolve issues for separation just like you would in a divorce. If you share children, this means you will have to decide the issues of child custody and child support. The court wants you to settle how you will share custody and whether one parent will pay support – along with property division issues – before the judge will grant your legal separation.

How do I register my legal separation from another state in Colorado?

If you want Colorado courts to recognize and oversee your legal separation from another state, you will need to file the proper paperwork with the right court. Determining where to file and which documentation you need can be challenging, and this is where a divorce lawyer can help.

How do I change my legal separation to a divorce?

If you and your spouse decide not to reconcile and to end your marriage following a period of separation, you can ask the court to convert your legal separation into a divorce case. Colorado courts have a specific form you need to complete and file to begin this process. If the arrangements you have for custody, support payments, property division, and other issues are working for you, the court can use this agreement as part of your divorce order. If you want to change the terms of your divorce from those in place during your separation, your attorney can help you do so.

How do I change my name back to my maiden name?

To change your name back following a divorce, you will need permission from the court. Your attorney can include a name change request on your divorce paperwork, and the judge can issue the name change decree along with your divorce decree. Then, you will need to take steps on your own with your court order to get a new Social Security card, passport, driver’s license, and more.

How Our Aurora Separation Lawyers Can Help

Even if your separation is simple, court filings and documents can be confusing. If something isn’t completed in the way it should be, it can cost you time and money. Negotiating a fair separation settlement with your spouse can often be challenging. Our Aurora Legal Separation lawyers can help with all of this.

Call the CNL Law Firm, PLLC at (720) 370-2171 or complete our online form to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation with our skilled Aurora separation attorneys today.

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