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Separation Agreements in Colorado

Depending on the circumstances of your marriage, you and your spouse may no longer want to have a typical marital relationship. But rather than filing for divorce, you may want to remain officially married. Colorado allows for this through a process called a legal separation. Remaining married may give you certain benefits. You may want to maintain certain types of insurance coverage available only to married people. Some people choose a legal separation instead of a divorce for religious reasons. And some choose to use the legal separation as a trial run before officially divorcing.

When you are wondering how to get a legal separation, our Colorado legal separation lawyer can help you. We will lay out the steps required to file for a legal separation. And when you are ready to investigate this process with the help of a separation agreement lawyer, contact The Cossitt Law Firm at 970-488-1887 today for a discussion of your case.

Steps for How to File for Legal Separation

Our team will help you go through the steps for how to get a legal separation. This can be a confusing process to do on your own, which is why our team takes pride in helping people achieve the outcome they are seeking.

Step 1: Make Sure You Fit the Residency Requirement

In Colorado, either you or your spouse must live in the state for at least 91 days before you can start the process of filing for legal separation. If you do not meet this requirement, you will need to wait.

Step 2: Hire Our Separation Agreement Lawyer

After determining that you have the legal right to get a legal separation in the state, you then can hire The Cossitt Law Firm to help you move through the remainder of the steps successfully. Although you could file some of these documents on your own, the process will go smoother with our legal team on your side. We will file everything correctly the first time, saving you time and hassle that could occur if you attempt to do the filing on your own.

Step 3: File Together or Separately When Seeking a Legal Separation

In Colorado, you and your spouse do not have to agree on seeking a legal separation for one of you to file for separation. You can file separately on your own, or you and your spouse can file together as a couple. Colorado is a no-fault state, which means you do not need to blame either party to seek the legal separation. To file for legal separation, one party simply has to tell the court that the two of you have irreconcilable differences. (The same no-fault rule applies when filing for divorce.)

If you choose to file together, you will be the petitioner in the case and your spouse will be the co-petitioner. If you are filing for the legal separation on your own, you will be the petitioner and your spouse will be the respondent. We then will have to serve your spouse (the respondent) with the legal paperwork regarding the legal separation. Our team can help you with any of the steps required for how to get a legal separation. Or, if your spouse went ahead and filed for a legal separation on his or her own, we can help you defend your rights. Call us at 970-488-1887 today for a review of your case.

Step 4: File the Correct Forms for How to Get a Legal Separation With the Correct Court

When the team at The Cossitt Law Firm is representing you, we will make sure you are filing the correct forms with the correct district court. The forms we need to file with the court will depend on whether you and your spouse have children together and on whether you are choosing to file for legal separation together or whether you are filing on your own.

When choosing which district court in which to file for the legal separation, it must be in a district court that serves the county in which one of the two of you live. An incorrect filing could significantly delay the process of receiving a legal separation ruling, but we will avoid this problem and help to keep your case moving forward.

Step 5: Schedule and Attend Your Initial Status Conference

After filing for legal separation, you will receive notice of your Initial Status Conference. This conference should occur within 42 days of the date you file for the legal separation. This is a meeting that you and your spouse should attend together, along with your representatives. However, if your spouse chooses not to attend the conference, you still may be able to move forward, as we’ll spell out later. A Family Court Facilitator typically will oversee the conference, helping you understand how the case will proceed. However, the facilitator will not be providing legal advice to either of you.

If filing for legal separation on your own, the state requires that you give your spouse notice of the conference at least 14 days before it will occur. Our team of divorce attorneys can help you figure out how to give your spouse notice about this conference and how to follow state rules in the process. As long as you give the required notice, you will be able to move forward with the legal separation process, even if your spouse chooses not to attend the conference or not to participate in the legal separation process.

How to Get a Legal Separation FAQs

At The Cossitt Law Firm, we understand that going through a separation can be an extremely emotional process. Trying to sort through all the legal aspects of the separation, while also working through your emotions, can be difficult. To try to help you, we put together this list of the most common questions our Colorado legal separation lawyer receives. Through our answers in this FAQ for how to file for legal separation, you can see how we make decisions and recommendations on various topics that are of importance to our clients.

After the separation agreement is signed by you and your spouse, it goes before the court. If the court approves it, it becomes legally binding immediately. Should either of you breach the terms of the separation agreement, the other spouse can sue for damages.

The legal separation will begin in Colorado after you and your spouse fulfill all the requirements for the separation process. The couple will file a request for a legal separation with the court. The court then requires that a 90-day waiting period must occur after the filing before the court can act on the request. During this time, the spouses should work on the negotiations for the legal separation and create the separation agreement. If the two of you cannot finalize the separation agreement, the court can make the decisions for you after the 90-day period passes. Then, once the court comes to a final ruling on the separation agreement and makes it into a court order, it becomes official.

When wondering how to file for legal separation, you simply must live separate lives, which doesn’t necessarily mean living in separate locations. So, yes, you can be legally separated while living in the same house. This is not a common outcome, as most people who go through a legal separation will want to have their own lives. This is difficult to do while living in the same house. However, some couples who go through a legal separation will want to continue living together because they are co-parenting their children or because they have financial concerns with trying to rent or purchase separate residences.

The Cossitt Law Firm Will Help With Your Separation Agreement in Colorado

When you make the decision to file for legal separation, you must complete a separation agreement, as spelled out by the Colorado court system. The separation agreement puts into writing the decisions that the couple will have to make as part of the separation. (A separation agreement is part of a divorce as well.) Some of the items included in a separation agreement include:

  • Agreements about alimony payments
  • Agreements about division of property
  • Agreements about decisions regarding the children, including parenting time, support payments, and custody.

Ideally, as your legal separation agreement lawyer, we will be able to negotiate a settlement with your spouse and his or her attorney that we then can bring to the court. Although we understand that you would like to receive the most favorable decisions on all the items in the separation agreement, it’s important to note that if the court decides the agreement is not fair to one of the parties, it can reject our negotiated settlement. Colorado statute 14-10-112(1) includes multiple rules for the separation agreement that we will need to follow as we work on your case.

Alimony

Whenever you and your spouse go through a legal separation, the two of you will need to agree on alimony for the separation agreement, called spousal support or spousal maintenance in some areas of the country. Two outcomes are possible:

  • No award of alimony, as both parties agree to live on their own separate finances
  • Award of alimony from one spouse to the other spouse.

Our spousal support attorneys will help to negotiate the alimony payment, if any payment is appropriate. We also can help you receive temporary alimony payments while the legal separation negotiations are continuing. These temp payments will continue until a permanent order occurs regarding alimony payments.

Division of Property

Colorado statute § 14-10-113 requires that the division of property in a legal separation must occur in an equitable manner. Some people may believe that this means splitting all property in half, making it a simple process. However, this is not always the case. When representing you, our property division lawyer will need to perform a few key tasks, including:

  • Collecting a list of all items that fit the definition of property
  • Classifying all property items as either marital or separate property
  • Determining a value for the property
  • Negotiating a fair distribution of the property.

Property that could be part of the legal separation agreement includes real estate, personal property, bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and similar items. Even debt can be part of the property division settlement, if the two of you accumulated debt during the marriage.

When dividing property as part of your legal separation, we can negotiate a settlement that may allow you to keep some property items in exchange for another property item that your spouse wants to keep. Rather than having to sell the property to split the proceeds evenly, as long as we can have both parties end up with a relatively equal value of property when the negotiations finish, we can go this route if you prefer.

Contact Our Colorado Legal Separation Lawyer for More Information

Because you and your spouse have multiple avenues in Colorado to seek an end to the marital responsibilities, it can be a confusing process. At The Cossitt Law Firm, after you hire us, we will work hard to help you figure out the best path forward for you. We understand that going through a situation like this is a significant challenge. By allowing us to focus on the legal aspects of what is happening, you can turn your attention to your future life.

We know how to get a legal separation for you, but we will only move forward with this tactic if you and our team agree that this is the best option for your unique situation. Trust that our team will investigate all your potential options, helping you understand what each one entails. You then will have the knowledge you need to push forward. For more information about how we can help with your divorce, legal separation, or other family law matter, contact our team today at 970-488-1887.


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Fort Collins Divorce & Child Support Attorneys

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Tom Cossitt, Esq.

Family Law
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Suzanne Ewy, Esq.

Family Law
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Carla Jaquess, Esq.

Family Law

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General Counsel and Family Law
Jenna Hardesty

Jenna Hardesty, Paralegal

Family Law

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