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Legal separation in Colorado

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Family Law News

For married couples going through a rocky patch, they may have thought about spending some time apart. They may have even thought about making that time apart legal through a legal separation, but what does that mean in the Centennial State.

Understanding legal separation

Legal separation is a formal legal procedure that enables a married couple to live apart while retaining their marital status. Unlike divorce, legal separation provides an alternative for couples who may not be prepared to terminate their marriage permanently.

Is legal separation possible in Colorado?

Yes. Legal separation is indeed a viable option in our state. The process mirrors that of divorce, requiring at least 1 spouse to have resided in Colorado for a minimum of 91 days before filing for separation.

Legal separation process in Colorado

Initiating legal separation involves filing a petition with the court. The petition must outline legal grounds for separation. Colorado operates as a no-fault state, meaning neither spouse needs to prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken. A simple assertion of the irretrievable breakdown suffices.

Practical implications of legal separation

Legal separation triggers several practical consequences for the separated spouses. First, following legal separation, each spouse attains financial independence, relieving them of responsibility for the other’s debts. In specific scenarios, a spouse may continue to be covered under the other spouse’s health insurance plan. Legally separated couples might still be eligible to file joint tax returns, presenting potential advantages. However, legal separation may influence inheritance rights.

Embarking on legal separation is a nuanced process that demands thoughtful deliberation. Couples contemplating legal separation in Colorado should understand their rights and explore available options.