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Contact Us 720.594.7360
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Colorado Divorce Attorney

Denver Same-Sex Divorce

Colorado began recognizing same-sex marriages in October 2014. Less than one year later, same-sex marriages became legal across the United States after the Supreme Court of the United States decided in Obergefell v. Hodges. While this made same-sex and opposite-sex marriages equal under the law, the relative newness of same-sex marriage means that some issues continue to come up when these couples get divorced. 

For example, what if the couple lived together for years before their marriage was legal? Could common law marriage apply before 2014? Or what if the couple was married in a different state before 2014, then lived in Colorado for some time before their marriage was recognized in the state? Because the length of a relationship plays an important role in divorce proceedings, the answers to these questions are essential in these cases. That’s why it’s important for anyone going through a same-sex divorce in Colorado to hire a knowledgeable divorce lawyer.

Same-Sex Divorce Process

Before same-sex marriage became legal in Colorado, the state-recognized same-sex civil unions. So there are many same-sex couples who are in civil unions rather than marriages. In general, the process of ending a civil union is the same as dissolving a marriage. Although divorcing same-sex couples may run into different obstacles than other couples, the same laws apply to all people who apply for divorce in Colorado.

Regardless of gender, couples who want to dissolve civil unions or marriages must have entered the agreement lawfully at the time. This may be an issue for couples who committed to marriage before 2014 in Colorado and never officially entered a legal marriage. Such couples may need to refer to the common law separation laws.

Furthermore, one of the following circumstances must apply:

  • The couple entered into the marriage or civil union in Colorado
  • At least one of the involved parties has lived in Colorado for at least 90 days

As long as your case meets these requirements, a divorce lawyer can help you take the next steps and manage all the complications of ending a legal relationship.

Types of Divorce in Colorado

No two divorce cases are alike, and that applies to same-sex couples as much as any other demographic. As such, Colorado allows for many different types of divorce proceedings. In general, you can categorize Colorado divorces into these types:

  • Uncontested Divorce: Partners agree on most aspects of the divorce
  • Mediated Divorce: a Denver divorce attorney acts as a third party to get both sides to agree and hope to avoid going to court
  • Collaborative Divorce: both partners have their own attorneys, and they agree to avoid litigation at the beginning
  • Litigated Divorce: When partners cannot agree, and the case goes through hearings and trial

What type of divorce you need depends on your wishes and the temperament of both parties. 

Spouses Married in Other States

Several other states recognized same-sex marriage before Colorado did. As such, some couples were married in another state but live in Colorado. In order to avoid complicated legal arguments regarding the validity of the marriage, Colorado enacted a provision that requires all marriages and civil unions to be treated the same, so long as the agreements were legal at the time and place in which they happened. So long as at least one of the people in such a relationship has lived in Colorado for 90days, he or she can file for divorce in the state.

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Denver Same-Sex Divorce

Common-Law Marriage

A common law marriage is a relationship in which the parties do not get formally married, but live as a married couple would. For example, they live together, hold themselves out as married, and share financial assets. Before Colorado recognized any legal same-sex relationships, many people in the LGBTQ community lived in what would be a common-law marriage if they were of different sexes. However, these relationships were not legally common-law marriages at the time.

Couples who lived in these situations before getting married and divorced may have some legal challenges to clear during divorce proceedings. The length of a relationship plays a significant role in how courts handle divorces, especially when one partner earns a lot more than the other. The courts have not yet come to conclusions about how these cases should go.

In these cases, it will be important to determine exactly when a relationship turned into what would be a common-law marriage if the court applied the rules retroactively. Furthermore, courts will need to decide whether the laws can be applied this way, which seems to be what the Obergefell v. Hodges decision suggests. That’s why it’s especially important to have knowledgeable, hardworking Denver divorce lawyers on your side in these circumstances.

Just like other couples, same-sex partners may enter common-law marriages today. When couples who were never legally married wish to separate, some issues regarding financial assets can arise. Even if there is no official divorce, a Denver divorce lawyer can help people who are leaving common-law marriages as well.
Denver Divorce Lawyer

Need Help with Same-Sex Divorce?

Call Colorado Legal Group at 720.594.7360 or get started with a complimentary case evaluation.

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Sharing of Children

Sometimes a person in a same-sex couple, though not legally married, may have historically helped in the raising of his or her partner’s child(ren). Upon separation or break up, suddenly that person’s relationship with the child can be forever changed. The partner may be eligible to initiate an allocation of parental responsibilities (custody) case depending on their care/involvement with the child and possibly as a psychological parent. So even when a same-sex couple does not need a divorce, they may need the assistance of an attorney to explore legal options/remedies regarding the child(ren) that he or she had such a significant relationship with.

How Our Denver Divorce Lawyers Can Help

A divorce, legal separation, or dissolution of a common-law marriage can be a difficult time in any person’s life. One thing that can make it slightly easier is to have someone on your side who can offer clear, consistent, and compassionate advice.

Call Colorado Legal Group at 720.594.7360 or get started with a free case evaluation.

How Can We Help?

Phone:
720.594.7360

 

Email:
info@coloradolegalgroup.com

 

Address:
1777 S Harrison St. #1210
Denver, CO 80210

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