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Colorado Springs Family Lawyer: How is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?

Thursday, 27 May 2010

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Just like a divorce decree, a decree of legal separation addresses the issues of property division, debt assignment, and possibly spousal support.  Couples with minor children will also need to establish child support and child custody.  All financial matters, including tax filing status and dependency exemptions will need to be addressed in the decree of legal separation in Colorado.

Essentially, a decree of legal separation legally declares the married parties to be separate persons financially.  This means they will no longer be responsible for each other’s re, taxes or debts.  In Colorado, the same filing and service requirements apply to legal separation as they would in a decree of dissolution of marriage. 

Here is a summary of how a legal separation differs from a divorce:

• The parties are not yet free to remarry
• They do not lose their rights to inheritance from one another’s estate
• The parties may be able to retain insurance benefits during legal separation
• The time while the parties are legally separated will count towards the time they are married in the eyes of Social Security. This is important, because when a couple is married ten years or more, former spouses have the right to receive retirement benefits based on the other’s earnings, as well as survivor benefits if their former spouse dies.
• Legal separation is important for some married couples, who are religiously or morally opposed to divorce.  This arrangement allows these couples to remain legally married, while establishing their economic independence from one another.
• In many cases, couples are just not ready to go through a final divorce process yet, but they need time to live separately while contemplating the decision.  Legal separation sounds a lot less “final” and less imposing. 

If you are seeking a legal separation in Colorado, seek out an experienced Colorado Springs family lawyer, who will guide you through the process step-by-step.

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