Thinking about separating from your spouse? Need a little time to sort things out and see what the next step is in your marriage? The legal separation attorneys at Knies, Helland & McPherson Law can help. We understand that the possibility of ending a marriage is a sensitive issue and not an easy choice to make. Every couple’s situation is different, which is why we work with you to create an individualized plan to assist you in reaching your goals.
To get started, call our separation attorney today at (719) 626-8530.
How Is a Legal Separation Different Than a Divorce?
Many couples take a bit of a “cooling off” period when they are contemplating adivorce or even attempting to reconcile. However, a legal separation is more than just a personal choice to take some time apart. A court approved separation is one that legally defines enforceable rights as well as obligations on the behalf of each party, but it does not permanently dissolve the marriage. A legal separation differs from an informal separation in that it is court-ordered and must be approved by law. This arrangement also differs from a formal divorce as the marriage continues to exist following a legal separation.
In Colorado, a legal separation is an alternative to a divorce or annulment. The advantage of this type of arrangement is that all financial and custody arrangements are final (including child support as well as property and debt division), but the marriage still exists for such purposes of health care plans, insurance, and benefits (your insurer may have specific rules regarding a legal separation and whether coverage may continue). It is important to understand that, with a legal separation, Colorado legislation does still recognize the spouses as married, so neither individual can remarry without first getting a dissolution.
Many spouses seek a legal separation assuming it will be simpler than a divorce, but that is not the case. The process includes all the same procedures as a divorce. It just has a slightly different outcome. Our separation attorneys will talk through your options with you and help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each option so you can come to a thoughtful decision as to whether separation or divorce is more fitting in your specific situation.
How To File for a Legal Separation
To begin filing for a legal separation in Colorado, you will first need to meet the state’s residency requirements. Once that requirement has been satisfied, you will need to file a petition with the court for a legal separation. While you can complete the necessary paperwork on your own, it is in your best interest to work with a separation lawyer to make sure the paperwork you submit is accurate and complete.
The separation agreement must include
- Provisions for the division of property;
- Child custody and visitation rights;
- Child support and/or alimony arrangements;
- Liability for any debts owed; and/or
- Any other specific details.
One of our separation lawyers can review your agreement and make sure you have taken all necessary factors into consideration.
After the finalization of the initial paperwork, it will need to be served to your spouse, unless the two of you have chosen to file jointly. Once the petition is served, each spouse has a certain period to respond. If you both agree to the provisions in the agreement, then it will need to be notarized and presented to the court.
At this point, it is often best to work out any disagreements with the help of a mediator. Our separation attorneys will work with you to achieve a peaceful agreement; however, if one cannot be reached, the separation will need to go before a judge.
Once you and your spouse have come to agreeable terms, you will each need to sign the separation agreement and submit it the judge for review. The final document will be approved and filed with the county clerk. It is possible to convert a legal separation into a divorce later; however, specific time limits do apply. If you choose to do so, we can provide you with the specific requirements that need to be met to convert the separation.
Do I Need a Legal Separation Attorney?
The reality is that when you are filing for a legal separation, you have just as much at stake as if you were filing for divorce. Child and/or spousal support, child custody, visitation time, division of funds, and retirement are all things that the judge will decide in your separation.
Considering all that is on the line, it is in your best interest to hire a professional who handles this type of case on a regular basis. Separation is just as harrowing of a process as divorce, and it is difficult to remain objective when attempting to represent yourself. Our knowledgeable family law attorneys will empathize with you throughout the process, but still guide you with a keen sense of objectivity and discretion.
How Quickly Can I Get a Legal Separation?
The length of time it takes for the completion of a legal separation varies depending on several factors. A case in which you and your spouse quickly agree on terms will move more quickly than one in which you disagree on everything. It is important to understand, though, that even if you agree on everything, your petition will still have to go before a court for approval. Working with our knowledgeable Colorado Springs legal separation attorneys at Knies, Helland & McPherson Law will help you move through the process as quickly and effectively as possible by avoiding incomplete paperwork and other commonly missed issues.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Legal Separation Lawyer Today
Our legal separation attorneys in Colorado are knowledgeable in all aspects of divorce law and know the specific rules and regulations regarding legal separation. We will provide you with guidance and support to make sure you take the steps necessary to have a lawful separation, should that be what you choose. Our goal is to help you work through this difficult time to move toward a better, more successful future.
He made this process as easy as possible.Ruby B.
"With only one day notice I was able to retain her and she came to court with me the next morning ready to fight for me. If I ever need another attorney I will definitely be returning to this firm."Angie C.
"They care about their clients and work in a professional manner with the opposing side."Christopher N.
The partners and attorneys at Knies, Helland & McPherson are seasoned litigators with decades of combined courtroom experience. We help clients transition into the next phase of their life.
Clients Come FirstOur Attorneys believe you can part ways with a loved one with dignity and respect, without harming your children. They also believe divorce and mediation can be much less confrontational and toxic, and far less expensive.
Personalized ServiceWhen you work with our team, you will get a customized plan that best fits your unique situation. No two cases are the same and our attorneys understand this.
Team OrientedAs Mothers and friends, our approach is unique in that we work collectively as a team. Our firm's number one priority is the success of our clients. We strongly believe that the best outcomes come about when we collaborate.