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The main difference between legal separation and divorce is the legal status of your marriage. In a separation, you and your spouse remain legally married according to the State of Colorado, even if you are no longer living together and acting as a married couple. Once a Divorce is final, an approved divorce decree is issued by the court and the marriage is legally terminated. Should one or both parties decide to divorce after a legal separation, the standard divorce process is required to terminate the marriage.
Once the divorce is final, the marriage is terminated. The finality of divorce makes it a viable option for those who are certain their marriage is over and that a divorce will not create a situation where key benefits will be lost by one spouse. However, if there is a chance of reconciliation or some benefits may be impacted, you may choose to legally separate instead.
Your legal separation agreement is important. It will cover areas like property division, child custody and visitation, and other important areas of your life and your marriage. These issues will impact your family and finances. Because the court will use your legal separation as a template for divorce proceedings, mistakes within the separation agreement can make Divorce more difficult in the future. It is important to treat your separation agreement as you would your final divorce order in terms of what decisions are being made.
Your attorney will work with you to draft an agreement that covers your needs and is realistic considering your circumstances. She or he will help negotiate with opposing counsel to reach an agreement on the issues you want the legal separation to address. This process may take some time.
An experienced divorce attorney can review and explain the specific pros and cons of a divorce and legal separation. She or he will do so with full knowledge of your particular situation and how each process will affect you.
If you have not yet done so, speak to a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney at Burnham Law about your situation and all of your options. With this information, you will be fully aware of what the impact of legal separation or divorce will have on your life before the court approves your agreement or decree.