It is critical that when a marriage ends, each party should receive a fair division of money and property acquired during that marriage. Frequently, however, there are conflicts over who should receive particular assets. If such disputes seem irreconcilable, make sure to consult with a Denver property division lawyer to make certain you receive your fair share.
Goldman Law can help you if you want to make sure you get a fair portion of your marital property or if you’re worried about keeping your premarital property. Call us at (303) 656-9529 if you have any questions concerning property divisions.
Colorado’s Equitable Property Division Requirement
There are two types of jurisdictions for property distribution in a divorce: community property states and equitable distributions states. Some Western states are community property states, which impose a 50/50 split of marital property.
Colorado, on the other hand, is an equitable distribution state. From a legal standpoint, equitable distribution states encourage a fair allocation of assets based on both spouse’s contributions to and sacrifices for the marriage. It is important to understand that this does not imply splitting evenly or equally. It implies that the property distribution should be fair.
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 14-10-113 covers property disposition in a divorce or legal separation, requiring the court to divide marital property in such proportions as the court regards as just after weighing all factors of the problem, without regard to marital misconduct.
If a couple is unable to reach an agreement on their own, they will require the services of an experienced Denver property division lawyer and will be required to go before an arbitrator or a judge who will determine the decision.
A court will examine the following considerations when deciding how to split the property:
- Each spouse’s financial situation
- The parent who has physical custody of the children most of the time since they are generally awarded the family home or the right to live in the family home for a set amount of time following the divorce.
- Value changes in one party’s separate property during the marriage
- Value changes to one party’s separate property for marital purposes
- The property value allocated to each spouse
What Counts as Marital Property and Debt?
Marital property covers all marital assets and debts accrued by each spouse throughout the marriage. It makes no difference whether the property is held in joint or sole ownership. The following items are considered marital property:
- The marital residence;
- Bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds;
- Pension payments;
- Retirement accounts
- Motor vehicles;
- Any increase in the worth of a separate property while the couple is married.
What Is Separate Property?
Separate property is property a spouse possessed before getting married as long as it was still legally titled separately. It also includes a gift, inheritance, or interest in an irrevocable trust a spouse acquired during marriage.
When a separate or premarital asset increases in value during a marriage, the gain may be considered marital property, which a court can divide fairly. In the following situations, separate or premarital property may include elements of marital property:
- You owned a house before your marriage and it increased in value, or your spouse helped you pay the mortgage on the house;
- You got a cash inheritance, deposited it into an investment account, and it rose in value throughout the marriage; or
- Before getting married, you opened a bank account, and either you or your spouse made deposits there.
- The property mentioned above was held jointly with your spouse.
How Is Marital Debt Divided?
Couples acquire assets during marriage, but they also accumulate debt in the form of credit card debt or mortgage payments. Many couples are surprised by marital debt because they feel the spouse who incurred the loan should pay it.
Colorado’s domestic statutes, however, view marital debt differently. According to these statutes, regardless of which spouse incurred the debt, debt incurred during the marriage becomes marital property. The debt must be taken into account as a component of the marital estate in a divorce.
How Marital Assets are Divided by a Court
When spouses cannot agree on partitioning marital property and debt, the court handling the divorce or legal separation has the power to split the property. As Colorado is an equitable distribution state, the court will try to distribute the marital estate fairly and equitably, though not necessarily equally.
In splitting marital property, the court examines the following essential factors:
- The effort each spouse made to obtain the marital property, including the role of a spouse as homemaker;
- The worth of the property in dispute;
- The state of each spouse’s finances at the time the property division takes effect;
- Any growth or reduction in the worth of a spouse’s separate property throughout the marriage; and
- Any reduction in one party’s separate property due to marital reasons.
The court determines what is separate property, marital property, and debt, assigns a monetary value to each category of property, and then determines an equitable allocation. If a couple is unable to divide the marital assets and debt amicably, a court will do so. The Court will necessitate mediation to try to resolve issues.
Goldman Law Can Help Defend Your Property Division Rights
At Goldman Law, we make every effort to guarantee that you receive a fair and equitable resolution of your marital property and debt and keep your separate property. Our family law attorneys give reliable assistance to help you sidestep the difficulties that typically come with the property distribution process.
Contact us today at (303) 656-9529, to set up a consultation with a Denver property division lawyer.