When it comes to divorce in Colorado, it’s the family law court judge who divides marital property and assigns responsibility for debts sustained during the marriage. In the case of dividing property, the court categorizes them as either marital or separate, fixes a monetary value to each asset or property, and then allocates the marital property to the spouses in an impartial manner.
In the simplest way to consider it, all assets or property acquired during a marriage are thought of as marital property – irrespective of the names the equity possesses. Any and all worth residing in a marital residence is an example. Businesses, investments, bank accounts, and stocks or mutual funds are other equity examples. Include, too, are pension plans, retirement plans, household goods, vehicles, and even the increase in value of the separate property of one spouse.
Colorado law states that a Colorado divorce court will fairly split all marital property unless both spouses agree to another arrangement. The court’s division will be centered on the value of the properties on the day of dissolution.
It’s worth pointing out that dividing property evenhandedly does not necessarily mean doing so equally or in half, but what the court considers fair. Let’s make this clear. While the courts of some states may split property in a 50/50 manner, Colorado’s divorce judges have latitude when allocating property. Most divorce courts, however, will divide all marital property equally.
Some things to be considered when dividing marital property include how much each spouse contributed to acquiring the marital asset, the economic status of each spouse at the time the division of property is to come into force, and any profit or loss in the value of separate property.
In some instances, one person in the couple may own what is classified as separate property. That could be property a spouse receives during the marriage through inheritance or as a gift, as well as property brought into the marriage by that particular spouse.
If the inherited property has been traded or invested, the newly acquired property can still be considered separate property provided it can be traced back to the original separate property.
Separate property belongs exclusively to the person whose name it is titled to. By titling separate property in joint names, it can be presumed the spouse with the separate property envisioned to make it a gift to the marital estate. In such an instance, how a property was titled can be determining when dealing with a divorce.
Tips for Dividing Marital Property
When going through the process of a dissolution, the first thing for both spouses to decide is which property is classified as marital and what is separate. Sadly, there are many mistaken thoughts among spouses in a divorce case as to how property is split, what property is to be divided, and what is fair for both parties.
It is best to be knowledgeable on the basics of property so that you may be able to identify what is worth fighting for in court and what isn’t. Planning ahead in terms of what to do with separate property, titling it, and other related decisions can make the divorce process less costly and much simpler down the road.