When it comes to dissolving a marriage in Colorado, a couple will have three options:
- Filing for an annulment, which, if granted, effectually negates the marriage so that it never legally happened
- Filing for a legal separation, which allows a couple to legal split up their personal assets and debts while still also legally being married
- Filing for a divorce, which legally ends the marriage, divides all marital assets and debts between the former spouses and sets up legally binding agreements regarding child custody, child support payments and/or alimony (or maintenance) payments
Because annulments are only granted in rare cases, such as when a couple is intoxicated at the time of the marriage, when the spouses are found to be close relatives (i.e., brother or sister), etc., most couples looking to end a marriage will opt for either a legal separation or a divorce. Cases in which seeking a legal separation may be a better choice for a couple include when:
- One spouse needs to stay on the other spouse’s healthcare plan, as divorce will end this coverage.
- The religious beliefs of a couple prevent them from going through with a divorce.
- A spouse is trying to extend a marriage until the 10-year mark in order to qualify for specific social security benefits, or a spouse who is in the military is trying to extend his marriage until the 10-year mark in order to qualify for certain benefits.
- Couples need to be able to still file joint tax returns for business or other reasons.
- Couples are deciding whether to continue working at their marriage or to seek a divorce to end the marriage.
When opting for a legal separation instead of a divorce, the couple’s shared marital property will not be legally divided between each spouse until they file for a dissolution of the marriage. Other stipulations of filing for a legal separation include that:
- Neither spouse is allowed to remarry.
- Inheritance rights and possibly insurance and retirement benefits will still be protected for each spouse.
If you are considering a legal separation or divorce in Colorado, contact the Denver family law attorneys at Mike Hulen, PC by calling (303) 932-8666.