Legal Separation Colorado Springs
Legal separation is too often the painful nexus between a failed relationship and divorce court. It is often a time when people are dealing with overwhelming emotions ranging from sadness to frustration to fear and anger. Often these feelings cloud reason and clear thought as to what really needs to be done to protect your interests in the situation that culminated in this separation. Too often people miss key legal requirements that must be handled correctly so they do not cause issues later in court where missing those requirements can be used against you.
Colorado Separation Law
Colorado separation law is specific as to what is involved. You cannot just move out and take your stuff and it be considered a legal separation. The couple must be living separately and have divided the assets and file a separation agreement and received a subsequent court order in Colorado. You are still legally married in the eyes of the law. The process is very similar to actual divorce proceedings. One party must be a legal resident of Colorado for 91 days to file for legal separation in Colorado.
Colorado legal separation is also very different than most states in that it not only acts as an alternative to an actual divorce, it also involves many of the same things addressed in a divorce decree, such as separation of property, assets, and debts, as well as support, child custody and support, and alimony or maintenance as it is called in a separation. The terms of the agreement are worked out between the two parties, but must be presented to the court for review. If the judge does not think the agreement is fair and equitable, or not practical, especially in terms of child custody, visitation, parental rights and support, they will refuse the agreement and make the parties revisit the issues and try again. Since Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, and has strong shared parental responsibility law, knowing that the legal separation may well end in divorce makes the courts take long, serious looks at all legal separation agreements presented before them.
That said, a legal separation in Colorado Springs or anywhere in the state is not simple, and division of property due to time frames can become very convoluted. Issues such as investment accounts, earnings, property purchased after legal separation filing, tax filing and refunds, all become grey areas to be sorted out by the court. And, once filed, it cannot be undone or cancelled. It is a serious legal matter with many ramifications involved.
Filing For Separation in Colorado
Colorado legal separation also requires both parties to petition the court for it to be legal. If one party does not agree, and files for a dissolution decree instead, the court will consider that the primary request over the separation. During the tenure of the court filed legal separation, after six months either party can request that it be turned into a dissolution, and it will proceed through the system quickly for a final divorce decree to be issued.
A unique consideration in Colorado is our state is one of the few that recognizes common law marriage. There is no set time for a common law marriage to become legal via cohabitation, either, rather, it is based on “cohabitation, consent, repute, and intent”. If you are living together, act like spouses, the community treats you as a couple, and you act like a married couple, in Colorado you are common law married. The judge will look at details including comments and verbal references, wearing of rings, joint accounts, signature allowance on credit cards, childcare and other details to make a solid determination. That said, the same process has to be taken for legal separation should you later decide it is not working.
Filing for separation in Colorado is not something an individual should ever attempt on their own, as too much is at stake. If dissolution is later sought, the documents filed and the agreements reached all become part of the evidence reviewed by the court and entered into consideration for a final agreement. Individuals without the legal training and experience in family law and knowledge of the detailed legal separation Colorado law are asking for very expensive outcomes not in their favor.
When you need advice or an accurate, correct filing for legal separation in Colorado done, talk to us at Family Lawyers Colorado Springs. We are Family Law specialists, and know what needs to go into an agreement that is fair to all the parties concerned. Our job is to protect your best interests.