Divorce and Legal Separation


In Colorado, the legal term for divorce is “dissolution of marriage”.

“No Fault”

All divorces, legal separations and dissolution of civil unions in Colorado are no-fault. This means that the bad behavior of your spouse does not matter when the court is making decisions about property division, maintenance, child support, parenting time or other issues. There is an exception though, where the court must consider convictions for domestic violence or child abuse when making parenting decisions. “Irretrievable breakdown” is the only legal basis for a dissolution.

Legal Separation

Legal separation is an alternative to dissolution and is commonly misunderstood to be easier, less time consuming and less costly. A legal separation requires the same procedures, the same amount of time and the same amount of care and service by your attorney as a divorce.

Once a legal separation is finalized you and your spouse will live your lives independently of each other. You will be treated as unmarried for federal tax purposes and you will no longer share rights to any property that each of you accumulate. However, despite the similarities, there are important distinctions and valid reasons to pursue a legal separation instead of divorce.

One important distinction is that a legal separation does not end your marriage or civil union. You are still legally married and cannot remarry unless the legal separation is converted to a divorce. The marital right of inheritance continues during a legal separation and this is sometimes the reason spouses do not want a divorce. Legal separation may be an option if your religion forbids divorce.

After a legal separation, either spouse can easily convert the separation to a divorce. This is certainly something to consider when planning for the future. Consulting with an attorney is an important first step regardless of whether you are considering legal separation or divorce.

Call Today For A Free Consultation

Our Northern Colorado family law firm offers free initial consultations to new clients. Please call us today at 970-624-6060.