Non-Married and Same-Sex Partnership Dissolution
On March 21, 2013, Governor Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 13-11 into law. This legislation enacted the "Colorado Civil Union Act" which went into effect on May 1, 2013. The law grants parties to a Civil Union -- whether same-sex or opposite-sex couples -- the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities that are granted to married people under Colorado law.
The Colorado Civil Union Act specifically does not use the word "marriage" but gives the parties to a civil union the same rights as spouses to a marriage. Laws relating to title, survivorship and ownership of property, intestate succession, workers' compensation benefits, adoption law and procedure, survivor benefits under local government firefighter and police pensions, insurance coverage and the rights and responsibilities with respect to the biological child conceived during the term of the civil union are all basically identical to married spouses.
The legal aspects of civil union dissolution in Colorado, with regard to declaration of invalidity, legal separation, dissolution, child custody, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, child support, property division, maintenance and awarding of attorney fees are the same as dissolution of marriage. One big difference between civil union and marriage, however, is that you may not file a joint federal or Colorado state income tax return. Current federal law prohibits the filing of a joint income tax return by parties that are not considered married under federal law. Since Colorado income tax filings are tied to the federal tax form, parties to a civil union are prevented from filing a joint state income tax return.
We are happy to set an appointment for you to have an initial consultation to review your options, or you can call us to discuss at your convenience.