When filing for a divorce, property division is a crucial part of the process. It can be overwhelming to think about where all of your assets will end up, as well as having to identify your separate property. Furthermore, each state’s property division guidelines vary. This can make the process even more confusing.
Denver Family Lawyers understands just how important the property division process is during a divorce. We can help explain how property is divided in Colorado, providing you the clarity you need to proceed with your divorce.
Fair and Equitable
One of the most important things to take note of in Colorado is that division must be equitable. This does not necessarily require the court to split everything on an equal (50/50) basis. The Court has broad discretion to determine what it believes is equitable or fair in a property division, and the division may or may not be equal.
Reviewing Types of Property
As mentioned in a previous blog, there are two different types of property in a Colorado divorce.
Marital property includes all assets that the couple acquires throughout the marriage. This can include real estate, stocks, investments, IRAs, 401(k) accounts, PERA accounts, bank accounts, vehicles, valuable jewelry or coins, furniture, recreational vehicles, boats, or anything else that holds value.
Separate property refers to any asset that the individual had prior to the marriage. For example,
- Property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent;
- Property acquired in exchange for the above or in exchange for other separate property;
- Property acquired by a spouse after a decree of legal separation; and
- Property excluded by a valid agreement of the parties, such as a premarital (“pre-nup”) or post-marital (“post-nup”) agreement.
What Factors Will the Court Consider?
In order to reach a fairly and equitably property division, courts are required to consider several specific criteria:
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
- The value of the property set apart to each spouse;
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective,
- The desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse with whom any children reside the majority of the time;
- Any increases or decreases in the value of the separate property of the spouse during the marriage; and
- Depletion of the separate property for marital purposes.
The court may also consider any other relevant factor, such as the value of each party’s separate property, the length of the marriage, the health of each party, and the ability of either party to pay maintenance. Many of these additional factors are not easily quantifiable, thus, if either party has major assets, it is wise to hire an attorney to help you make your best case to the judge.
It is also important to present evidence of the true value of both separate and marital property so that the court can make a fair and equitable property division. Often this requires the assistance of an appraiser, business valuation expert, forensic accountant, or other financial professionals, who can value specific marital or separate property.
Sometimes, one party hides assets or refuses to provide adequate documentation with which to value certain property. In such case, it is crucial to have legal representation and, possibly, an additional expert to ensure that you get your fair share of the property division.
Denver Family Lawyers, Experienced Property Division Attorneys
Having an experienced attorney to assist in the property division process will help ensure that you get your fair share of the marital property and protect your separate property. Our team has over 60 years of combined experience guiding our clients through the critical property division process. We will help you find the best approach to resolve your property division issues, whether through negotiation, mediation, or taking the case to court.
To schedule a consultation, call us at (303) 225-3343 or visit us online.