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Legal Separation

Legal Separation - Denver Family Law AttorneySplitting up is tough, but Colorado allows three ways of doing it. Divorce is the most common, and another way is annulment. The third way is legal separation. For some couples, filing for a Decree of Legal Separation has advantages over divorce. If health insurance is an issue, one spouse may remain covered by the other’s health insurance if they wish; for some religious stigma is an issue, and legal separation allows the couple’s marriage to remain legally ¬†intact in the eyes of the law, but allows them to go their own way in all other respects.

Some people, however, think of legal separation as “divorce lite,” but this is not the case. The legal process of getting a separation is exactly the same as a divorce, and the court’s rulings on division of assets and debt, child custody, and alimony are just as binding. These are precisely the same issues a court must address in a divorce, which means you would be advised to have good Denver divorce attorney.

Legal separation may “feel” like a divorce for the parties involved, but the couple remains married in every other way in the eyes of the law. Spouses may not remarry (unless they convert the separation into a divorce), they retain inheritance rights and social security rights, and in some cases they continue to live under the same roof. In effect, a legal separation dissolves the legal commitments normally associated with marriage. For instance, if one spouse of a separated couple takes out a loan or signs a contract, the other spouse is not required to fulfill the commitment.

Couples may seek a legal separation for a number of reasons, most commonly as a stepping stone to a final divorce. Often one of the spouses will be highly motivated to get on with their life, but the other is not so sure. The separation in this case allows the uncertain party to mull the condition of their marriage before making a final decision. While it is a fact that many legally separated couples will finally file for divorce, it is not always the case, and some couples live under the conditions of their separation for decades. A smaller group simply wants to be “legally separate,” that is, they no longer want to be financially bound to the other spouse.

Legal separation is not the answer for everyone, but for those who are unsure about whether they can work things out, it can be a good time to reassess their marriage. It is not uncommon that legally separated couples who think they are headed toward divorce do in fact find a way get back together. Legal Separation is a good choice for those who don’t want a divorce. Van Der Jagt Law Firm is a Denver divorce attorney who can help you decide if it’s right for you.