Parker Legal Separation
For some married couples in the early stages of a split, seeking a divorce can feel too final or there may be more complicated financial, health, or religious reasons preventing them from wanting to take that step. In cases like this, a legal separation may be preferable to a divorce. If you are considering a legal separation, our Parker legal separation attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C. can advise you on the key differences between a legal separation and a divorce and let you know what your options are should you decide to pursue this alternative solution.The Process of Legal Separation in Colorado
Obtaining a decree of legal separation in Colorado entails essentially the same procedures as getting a full dissolution of marriage. The process begins the same way, with the filing a petition for legal separation, followed by personal service of that petition on your spouse. At least one spouse must have been domiciled in Colorado for 91 days prior to the filing of your legal separation case. With legal separation cases, the court will deal with the same issues as in a divorce, including:
- division of property and debt
- alimony (spousal support)
- child custody and visitation (if you have children)
- child support if you have children
If couples agree on the relevant topics, they sometimes work together with their respective family law attorneys to formulate a written separation agreement resolving these issues, whether pre or post-filing. If the issues are not agreed upon the court will ultimately enter orders and a decree of legal separation.
As soon as the petition is filed with the court, protections will go into effect to prevent retaliation by either party while the separation case is pending. For example, neither party may transfer, conceal, or destroy any marital property except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life. This prevents one spouse from attempting to hide money or squander marital assets. If you suspect you’ll need financial protections or even physical protection from the other party during a legal separation, don’t hesitate to discuss these matters with your attorney as soon as possible. A skilled legal separation attorney in Parker will know the steps you need to take to ensure that you and your finances stay secure. Also similar to divorce cases, the court can enter temporary orders regarding both financial issues, such as support, and custody or visitation. These orders will govern until decree and permanent orders are entered.
Given that legal separation cases can also come with the same levels of upset and acrimony as a divorce, oftentimes one party will file for legal separation, but the case will conclude as a divorce. If a decree of legal separation does enter, it’s important to understand that statute authorizes that decree to be converted to a decree of dissolution of marriage (divorce), by either spouse, six months after the first decree enters. In this situation, the terms of the orders entered in the legal separation will still be applicable, unless you have specified otherwise. There is no statutory basis to prevent your spouse from converting that decree after the six months have passed. Therefore, it’s important to get issues such as health insurance taken care of during that time, as most providers will not allow a divorced spouse to stay on a policy for more than 30 days.Consult with an Experienced Legal Separation Lawyer in the Parker Area
There are many reasons you and your spouse may want to seek a legal separation as an alternative to divorce. Whether you want to keep your spouse on your health insurance plan or you simply wish to leave the door open for reconciliation, we are here to help you figure out the best solution for your needs. Call 303-781-0322 or contact us online to connect with a Plog & Stein, P.C. team member who is familiar with the Parker community and the issues you are facing. Our Parker legal separation lawyers are ready to guide you.