Alternatives to Divorce Annulment, Legal Separation

Going through a divorce is a massive step, and for many couples, it might not be the right one. Some individuals want to explore alternative options when it comes to separating because a long, expensive divorce doesn’t feel like the best choice.

Let’s cover a few divorce alternatives, as well as one option that still results in divorce but keeps both parties out of court. We’ll explore separation vs. divorce in Colorado, as well as the basics of annulment.


Seeking mediation does not technically end a marriage, though it is a common part of the divorce process. During mediation, the divorcing couple works with a neutral third party who helps each person come to a series of agreements regarding the separation. In some cases, mediation can help the parties choose a route other than divorce (legal separation, counseling, etc.), and in other cases, mediation can help make a divorce less contentious for both parties.


Annulment is a legal process that ends a marriage similarly to a divorce, but the results are a little different for each. When a couple divorces, the marriage legally ends, but there are records of it existing for a time. Annulment legally erases a marriage, technically undoing the legal effects of the marriage’s existence.

Legal Separation

Legal separation is an option designed for couples who may not be ready to divorce but are not ready to reconcile either. Courts usually issue a trial separation, which lasts for a predetermined length of time, and after that time has passed, the parties can file for legal separation.

This option differs from divorce because, as the marriage still technically exists, the insurance and tax benefits that come with marriage are still available. However, the parties involved can still divide property, determine child custody, and claim child support.

Collaborative Divorce

This option allows couples to divorce, but it isn’t as messy, costly, or time-consuming as traditional divorces. A collaborative divorce is not applicable to every case, but when both parties know what they want, this option might work.

During a collaborative divorce process, both parties work together to come to mutually beneficial terms outside a courtroom. They find common ground to agree upon regarding property division, debt division, child custody arrangements, child support, and more.

This option is helpful for divorcing parents who each want to play an equal, active role in the lives of their children. Though Colorado fathers’ rights are technically equal to mothers’ rights, coming to positive decisions with your former spouse might be easier than arguing over child custody in court.

If you’re planning to separate from your spouse, but you don’t know if divorce is the right option for you, reach out to the COLaw Team. Our attorneys can walk you through all of your options and help ensure that your decision provides you with the benefits you seek.