On behalf of Cooper & Tanis, P.C. posted in divorce on Monday, July 31, 2017.
People in Colorado who are considering a legal separation may wonder about the laws and how this arrangement differs from a divorce. While they can be permanent, legal separations are often temporary until the couple decides whether or not to end their marriage.
A legal separation has several elements that are similar to divorce. Primarily, there may be maintenance payments, which operate much like child and spousal support payments. If the couple goes on to get a divorce, the amounts awarded as separation maintenance may influence the ultimate decision around child support and alimony. The situation may be similar in regards to child custody and visitation decisions as well.
In a temporary separation, property division is usually not an issue. Debts and assets acquired during this time might still be considered marital property. If the separation is permanent, debts and assets acquired after the legal separation usually will not be considered marital property. There may be an exception if a debt is acquired for something that benefits the family such as child care.
Whether a person is considering a legal separation or divorce, speaking to an attorney might be the first step. This may give a client a sense of how the process might proceed in relation to factors such as child custody and property division. The client may have the option to negotiate these decisions with the spouse. If the couple is experiencing a great deal of conflict, it might still be possible to reach an agreement through mediation. However, if one spouse refuses to cooperate, litigation may be necessary.