Unlike married couples who decide to informally “take time apart,” spouses who legally separate obtain formal recognition from the State of Colorado that they are living independent lives. At the Denver office of Karin Johnson Chatfield LLC, I provide legal counsel to married individuals who want to obtain a decree of legal separation from the court of Denver County or another nearby district. As your attorney, I can help you understand and assert your rights to equitable property distribution, spousal and child support, and parenting time.
The major difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that during a separation, the couple is still considered legally married. A legally separated person cannot remarry, while a divorced person can. Certain legal benefits of marriage can also be maintained during separation in ways that would not be an option for divorced spouses. Separation can be a financially attractive option during tax time, and the cost of separating may also be less than the cost of a divorce.
If you and your spouse decide to convert your separation to a divorce, you can file a Motion to Convert Decree of Legal Separation to Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and take the other steps necessary to formally end your marriage. A judge will not convert a separation to a divorce until the separation has been in place for at least six months.
A legal separation grants each separated spouse individual accountability (and property division, child custody and more), along with other conditions that some couples may find attractive or essential.
Legal separation offers the following advantages:
If you are interested in pursuing a legal separation or are already separated and wish to transition to divorce or reconciliation, I encourage you to contact my firm. I am prepared to handle your case with care, focusing on helping you create a path to move toward a new chapter of your life with the resources and considerations you deserve.
Spouses who legally separate can work out terms for the same major matters that are covered in a divorce. All of these issues can be addressed in an official separation agreement. Couples can draft their own separation agreements and present them to a judge for approval, or they can ask the court to make decisions about issues such as property division, child support, alimony and child custody.
In regard to many matters, the same legal guidelines are used for separation and divorce. For example, courts always make custody and visitation decisions with the objective of supporting the best interests of children. Legally separated parents may share physical custody and parental responsibilities, or one parent may have sole physical custody while the child continues to enjoy parenting time with the other parent through scheduled visitation.
It is important to ensure that your long-term interests and concerns are addressed when deciding how your estate is handled in a separation, even if you think a reconciliation is likely. There is no telling how long your separation will last, and if you divorce later on, it is highly possible that the same terms included in the separation agreement or court orders will be used for the divorce. With attention to detail and a big-picture outlook, I help separating spouses protect their interests in separation agreements.
Many couples facing marital strife are not yet ready for the finality of a divorce. Legal separation may be a better, healthier solution. At Karin Johnson Chatfield LLC in Denver, Colorado, I thoughtfully advise and represent clients throughout the legal separation process. To schedule your free initial consultation with my office, call 720-386-5511 or contact me online.