Divorce & Legal Separation
Denver Family Law and Divorce Attorney
Divorce in Denver, Colorado is known as a dissolution of marriage. The divorce will still end in both spouses being single and able to remarry if they so choose. Couples also have the option for an annulment, if applicable. An annulment differs from divorce, though. An annulment claims that a marriage was never legal to begin with. Either one spouse was too young to make the decision, they were tricked into the marriage or one spouse was already married at the time. A divorce, on the other hand, is the dissolution of an entirely legal marriage that is no longer working.
Colorado is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that the courts have no interest in any misconduct that lead to the divorce. For example, adultery or abuse. So, when the court decides how to divide property or grant alimony, the ‘better behaved’ spouse does not get special treatment or bonus points for staying virtuous throughout the marriage. However, for a divorce to be granted in Colorado, one spouse must have lived in the state of Colorado for at least 90 days before filing the legal paperwork for a divorce.
With Colorado being a no-fault state, that also means that both spouses do not have to agree to the divorce or participate in the divorce process. In other words, if one spouse wants to file for a divorce and the other does not, they may motion or request for a ‘default’ judgement which would allow them to proceed with the divorce case regardless.
- Division of shared property
- Any restraining orders
- Necessary child custody
- Child visitation orders
- Child support
- Alimony (spousal or partner support)
Oftentimes, spouses are unable to amicably make a decision on how to properly divide their property and assets. This is when a court hearing would come into play, deciding the division for the couple. In doing so, the court will separate property and assets into ‘shared’ and ‘marital’ property.
Separate property is any property or assets that is clearly one spouse’s over the other. This would be anything or money that was acquired previous to the marriage or after a legal separation (if applicable). Separate property is also any gifts or inheritances that were clearly issued or given to one spouse. Lastly, separate property may be anything or money that was agreed upon by both spouses, in a valid manner, to be one spouse’s over the other. An example of this may be stocks earned throughout one spouse’s employment.
Marital property is where it gets tricky. This is all property and assets that were shared and acquired over the course of the marriage. Colorado being a no-fault state can sometimes hurt the party filing for the divorce. For example, if a man is filing for a divorce because his wife had been cheating on him for many years, he often feels wronged in the process of property division because he feels entitled to more of the assets than his wife whom he may feel is responsible for the divorce. Since no-fault states do not take misconduct into consideration when dividing property, here is what they do look at:
- How much each spouse contributed to the acquisition of the marital property
- How much each spouse contributed to homemaking
- The value of the property and assets allocated to each spouse
- The economic environment each spouse will face individually after the divorce
- The value of each spouse’s separate property and whether it has the potential to increase or decrease in value over time
- The use and value of any separate property for marital purposes
A legal separation, simply, is a court order which is a lawful arrangement by which a couple remains married but lives apart. To much dismay, a legal separation is no more simple or less stressful than a divorce. Couples seeking a legal separation will go through all the same hoops and battles that a divorce case would make them go through, though they will end up still legally married as opposed to with a decree of dissolution.
What are the benefits of a legal separation?
Would legal separation still allow us to divvy up our assets?
Can a couple still divorce after or during a legal separation?
Can a person who is legally separated get remarried?
may pose an issue for some people, as they don’t realize that a legal separation does not free them from marriage. After all, the only reason each person may receive benefits such as insurance and health care is because they are still legally married.
If there isn’t a big difference between legal separation and divorce, why do it?
What if one party is afraid of retaliation upon suggesting a legal separation?
- The unnecessary disposing or selling of shared property or funds without consent
- Disturbing the peace
- The cancelling or nonpayment of any healthcare or insurance premiums without 14 days of notice. This includes auto insurance, homeowner or renter’s insurance, etc. as well as any insurance that covers any children involved
- Removing any minor children from the state without consent
Contact Denver Divorce Lawyer Jarrett J. Benson
A divorce is no quick-fix or a short process, by any means. Even in the unlikely case that both spouses are in total agreeance on how to divide property, allocate child custody and any spousal support, it is still a very lengthy road to endure. Once the divorce is legally approved, both spouses still have to wait three months for the divorce to be finalized.
If you are looking to file for a divorce, or need a divorce attorney, trust no one but the Law Offices of Jarrett J. Benson. With a long history of helping with divorce and annulment cases in the Denver metro area, our experienced team of attorneys will help you receive the best possible outcome. Contact our office or give us a call today to help you get started on your divorce case.