Legal separation is similar to divorce, with one major caveat: At the end of the latter, the marriage is over, but the second results in it remaining intact.
People may choose to separate for several reasons, including adhering to religious beliefs, retaining insurance and benefits, preserving the possibility of reconciliation and avoiding social consequences. They may also use legal separation as a stepping stone to obtaining a divorce since the law allows its conversion to one. There are some facts those interested in legal separation need to know.
1. It is not necessarily faster, easier or cheaper than divorce
The process is essentially the same as divorce except for the previously mentioned fact that the marriage continues to exist. The complexity, expenses and duration do not deviate much. As with divorce, these factors may vary since it largely depends on how hard it is for the spouses to come to a suitable arrangement.
2. There is an agreement
Just like with divorce, the proceedings produce an agreement that addresses concerns, including custody, property division and alimony. The two individuals have the opportunity to negotiate the specifics with each other, but the judge decides if they are unable to.
3. There are requirements
Couples must provide a reason for wanting to separate. Since Colorado is a no-fault state, this may be as simple as saying there are irreconcilable differences. Each party must be at minimum a 91-day state resident before petitioning for separation and must undergo a three-month waiting period.
Note that certain health insurance policies classify separation and divorce the same so either may result in termination of coverage. It is also important to remember that while separation is close to divorce, it does not legally allow individuals to marry another person (unless they remarry each other).