A legal separation in Colorado is an alternative to a Colorado divorce or annulment. The advantage is that Colorado legal separation law finalizes all child custody and financial arrangements (including child support, division of property and debt, and maintenance, etc), but the spouses are still technically married for purposes of some health care plans, insurance, military benefits, or religions which frown upon divorce.
But this also means that the parties are still technically married, so neither spouse can remarry without first obtaining a dissolution.
If spouses are seeking to obtain a legal separation in Colorado thinking that it might be simpler than a divorce, they will be disappointed. A legal separation has the same procedures as a divorce, and just as final a resolution of all issues - property & debt division, parenting issues, maintenance, support, etc.
The disadvantage of legal separation in Colorado is that the process is no easier than a Colorado divorce. Aside from the lack of a waiting period, the process is procedurally identical and involves all of the same issues. In the end, however, the parties have a decree of legal separation, not a decree of dissolution.
After filing a petition for Colorado legal separation, either spouse can ask the Colorado family law court to grant a divorce instead of a legal separation. C.R.S. 14-10-106(2).
Plus, once a Colorado decree of legal separation has been issued, either party can convert it to a decree of dissolution after six months has passed, usually with the same terms as the legal separation. C.R.S. 14-10-120.
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