Married

  • Retain Spouse’s Medical Insurance
  • Military Dependents
  • Tax Benefits
  • Government Benefits

Divorced

  • Live Separately
  • Asset Division
  • Child and Spousal Support
  • Engage in New Relationships


Some common reasons that couples choose legal separation over dissolution of marriage include religious or moral reasons or there is some hope for reconciliation. Legal separation allows the couple to live apart and decide whether or not they will then file for divorce or reconcile the marriage.

How the Process of Legal Separation Works

The process to become legally separated is very similar to that of the dissolution process. First, the couple must file a petition of legal separation and wait the mandatory 90-day waiting period before your case is settled. During this time, matters of custody, support, and property division are decided.

Once the legal separation has been granted, the couple can then convert the separation into either a dissolution of marriage or vacate the order of legal separation and resume your marriage. To convert the legal separation to a divorce, you’ll have to wait at least six months and then file a motion to convert to a dissolution of marriage. Typically, the same terms of the legal separation will stand, but couples can decide to renegotiate if they decide to divorce.

Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer For a Legal Separation?

Going through a divorce attorney is not a requirement to file a petition for legal separation with the court. However, since the process is the same as will divorce, we highly recommend that both parties hire an attorney or the couple uses a mediator. Legal separation, although not as final as divorce, can become very heated and emotionally charged and there are many matters to discuss. Additionally, when it comes to benefits and legal separation, what the couple is entitled to with their — technically — married status can vary. Having a lawyer who is well-versed in these matters will help ensure each party is getting what they are entitled to.

At the Law Offices of Kelli J. Malcolm, LLC, we are a family law team that has been helping Denver couples navigate the complex Colorado legal system to find the best outcomes for everyone involved. If you and your spouse are considering a legal separation or divorce, contact us for the legal support you deserve.