Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

What is the Difference Between a Legal Separation vs Divorce in Colorado? | Episode 88

February 28, 2022 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha Season 1 Episode 88
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
What is the Difference Between a Legal Separation vs Divorce in Colorado? | Episode 88
Show Notes Transcript

Ryan Kalamaya explains the difference between a legal separation and divorce in Colorado.

A legal separation is a court case where your spouse and you go through the same processes as a divorce without the issuance of an actual divorce decree. The main difference between legal separation and divorce is that after legal separation, you are still married. A legal separation mainly separates your finances but you remain married and therefore cannot remarry.

Reasons to Choose Legal Separation over Divorce:

  • Religious opposition to getting a divorce;
  • You may still want to reconcile but have concerns about maintaining joint finances. One party may have trouble managing money or engaging in behavior that is depleting the marital estate;
  • There may be tax-related or insurance-related benefits to remaining married;
  • Potential retirement-related benefits related to staying married;
  • Or the parties may simply not be ready to be “divorced”;

Ryan Kalamaya (1s):
Welcome to Divorce at Altitude, a podcast on Colorado family law. I'm Ryan Kalamaya each week, along with my business partner and cohost Amy Gosha or an expert, we discuss a particular topic related divorce or co parenting in Colorado. In addition, we have created a short series of lessons that will take you through the legal process of divorce and answer your questions from simple to complex divorce. Isn't easy. The end of a marriage, especially when children are involved, brings a great deal of loss and change. We hope these practical tips and insights will help you On your journey to a new and better life.

Ryan Kalamaya (43s):
This how to episode about legal separation and dissolution of marriage or divorce in Colorado. Now, as long time listeners know, we have a story involving Eric and Melanie Wolfe and the deterioration of their marriage. If you're unfamiliar with that story, go back and check out episode one for Eric Wolf story, you can also Google either one of their names and my last name, or find their stories on our website. Kalamaya dot law in order to kind of put things into context. Now, if we go into the marriage counselor's office, where Melanie announces that she has hired a lawyer, and instead of her saying, I'm going to be seeking a divorce, she says, I'm going to be pursuing a legal separation.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 27s):
Eric's going to ask himself, what's the difference? Why is she doing A legal separation? The main difference between legal separation and divorce is that at the end, Eric and Melanie will still legally be married, but the process is still the same. There's a petition is filed. That petition actually in Colorado is the same. It's just a different box is checked. And One of petitioning the court for legal separation instead of dissolving the marriage, but the financial disclosures, the financial agreements that are made in terms of support and child support maintenance, they're all the same. So the question becomes, well, why would people pursue a legal separation over divorce?

Ryan Kalamaya (2m 8s):
And the question will vary, or the answer rather will vary. And it depends on people's perspectives on religion or emotions. Some pursue a legal separation because they have a Religious opposition to divorce. Some spouses may want to hold out the prospect of reconciliation, but they want to formalize the split of their finances. There might be tax or insurance related reasons. Some insurance programs will allow legally separated spouses to remain on a joint or family health insurance plan. Many other insurance plans will consider a legal separation to be effectively a divorce and we'll remove a spouse or they no longer become eligible.

Ryan Kalamaya (2m 55s):
Similarly with the IRS, after a decree of legal separation is issued. As of the recording, the IRS would consider those people to be effectively separated to the point where they could not file a joint tax return. There could also be emotional issues that people might not be ready to quote unquote, be divorced. Again, also be some retirement related benefits in particular related to spouses in the military or some sort of pension, regardless, there are different ways that people can approach this question and arrive at the same answer. And that might be that they want to pursue a legal separation instead of a divorce. Once a decree, however of legal separation is entered the process by which to convert it into a dissolution of marriage is fairly straightforward and simple.

Ryan Kalamaya (3m 43s):
So many people will start off the process and file a petition for legal separation and then convert the decree of separation into divorce. Thanks for listening or watching this short lesson on the Divorce at Altitude podcast. If you found this helpful, please leave a review or share with a friend. It does help for others that are going through or thinking about a divorce in Colorado. If you want to find out more information, please visit Kalamaya dot law or Divorce at Altitude dot com. And that's K a L a M a Y a.law. Remember, this is educational information. It's not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with an attorney about the particulars of your case.

Ryan Kalamaya (4m 26s):
We're happy to answer questions. Feel free to give us a call at (970) 315-2365.