How is a Legal Separation Different from Divorce in Colorado?

A lot of people think that legal separation is a step towards divorce. First you get legally separated, then you get divorced. But in Colorado, that’s not the case at all. There is no stair step to divorce. Legal separation is an alternative to divorce … very different. However, you have to go through the exact same process that you would go through if you were getting a divorce.

Divorce requires financial disclosures at the beginning. You have to do that as well in a legal separation. If you have children, you have to do a parenting plan. You have to figure out child support. If maintenance was an issue, you’d have to figure out maintenance. The process is exactly the same.

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How Does Colorado Determine Alimony (Maintenance) in Divorces?

Alimony – we actually don’t use that word here in Colorado. It’s the same thing, but we use the word maintenance instead. The reason we use the word maintenance is because it’s need based here in Colorado. It’s not as if you just should have maintenance/alimony because someone is at fault or someone has been bad and they need to be punished. Here in Colorado, regardless of how bad the other party is, you’re not going to be able to get alimony or maintenance unless you fulfill on what we now have as a maintenance formula.

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How Does Colorado Determine Child Support Compensation?

Child custody is based on a legal standard called, ‘what is in the best interest of the children?’ Child custody includes two pieces, it includes parenting time, and it includes decision making and also, of course, there’s child support that needs to be dealt with.

How is that determined? Essentially you’ll need to decide those things, in other words, you’ll have the children 50% of the time, meaning 50% of overnights a year. Your ex-spouse would also have the children 50% of the time or 50% of the overnights for the year.

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Do we Have No-Fault Divorces in Colorado?

In Colorado we have no-fault divorces. In other words, you’re not required to have a reason to get a divorce in Colorado. You can get a divorce whether the other party wants a divorce or not – it doesn’t matter. Some states require fault. In other words, there has to be some reason that the state recognizes that’s a good enough reason to be able to get a divorce. In those states someone might be able to say “No, I won’t give you a divorce.” “No I’m putting my foot down. We aren’t getting a divorce.” Well, in those states that sometimes is the case, but here in Colorado it is not. We have a lot of, I guess you’d say, freedom or latitude in the area of divorce here and you’re really allowed to get a divorce if you want one. That’s why Colorado is considered a no-fault divorce state.

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What is an uncontested divorce in Colorado?

To be honest with you, an uncontested divorce is the best kind of divorce. It means that there’s nothing that you’re fighting over that you have to go to court for and have a judge to make a determination on. In other words, you’ve gone through your divorce process but you and your spouse have been able to reach an agreement on all of the important factors of your divorce. That includes your parenting plan, all of the issues surrounding how you’re going to deal with the children, all of the issues surrounding child support, and maintenance, if these are important in the case. Then, you’re able to go to court with your final agreements, and the judge essentially is going to just agree to what you and your spouse have agreed to, unless there’s something completely onerous or wrong with it.

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