Property Division Lawyer in Colorado

Every divorce is unique, but every divorce involves at least one thing: property division. A key part of legally dismantling a marriage is distribution of the couple’s marital property between them in accordance with applicable state law.

How is Colorado Marital Property Divided?

In Colorado, divorce courts follow the doctrine of equitable distribution.
With equitable distribution, a couple’s assets are not necessarily divided equally. Instead, the court uses a variety of factors about the couple’s lifestyle and the parties’ individual needs to determine a fair breakdown of their marital assets. For example, the court might consider each party’s income when determining how much each contributed to the marriage financially and keep this difference in mind when dividing their assets. Financial contributions are not the only contributions considered in property distribution decisions. All contributions, such as a stay-at-home spouse’s daily efforts to maintain the couple’s home and make it possible for the other spouse to earn a high salary, are also considered when determining an appropriate way to divide a couple’s marital assets.

Understanding All Aspects of Divorce Asset Division

Only marital property is divided in a divorce. Separate property remains with its original owners.

Separate property is the property that each partner owned before entering the marriage that did not change in value due to his or her spouse’s effort.

A few examples of separate property include:

  • Personal vehicles;
  • Collections;
  • Personal items; and
  • Investments made before entering the marriage.

Additionally, assets obtained during the marriage through inheritance or as gifts are separate property.

Marital property, on the other hand, is all property obtained during the marriage that benefits both partners. Separate property can become marital property when it changes in value because of a spouse’s efforts, such as a home one partner owned before marriage that increases in value due to renovations funded by the original owner’s spouse or from his or her effort in helping to pay down the mortgage.

Typically, marital property includes:

  • Joint retirement accounts;
  • The couple’s home and any other real estate they own;
  • Joint savings accounts;
  • A small business the couple owns;
  • Vehicles in both parties’ names;
  • Investments made by both parties; and
  • Property owned by both parties, like a boat or other recreational vehicle.

In a divorce, the couple’s marital debt is also subject to division, like their shared credit card debt and student loans for which both parties signed

Negotiating an Appropriate Property Division Settlement

In order for a couple’s marital estate to be divided appropriately, their assets have to be valued accurately. This can require outside parties to come into the picture and use their expertise to value the assets, like a real estate appraiser valuing their home or a small business appraiser determining what their business is worth.

When the court determines an appropriate breakdown of the couple’s assets, it considers the following:

  • Each partner’s current economic circumstances, such as his or her income and personal debts;
  • Each partner’s economic and non-economic contributions to the marital estate;
  • The value of the property granted to each spouse; and
  • How each partner’s actions caused the other’s separate property to increase or decrease in value during the marriage.

The court may consider additional points within each of these factors, such as the desirability of the spouse with whom the couple’s children will spend the bulk of their time retaining the marital home. Other factors that can play into the court’s determination are the tax obligations associated with each asset and whether there is a prenuptial agreement in place designating how the couple’s assets are to be divided.

The court may facilitate a property distribution agreement between the partners like one spouse choosing to buy out the other’s interest in the marital home or an arrangement where the spouse with whom the children primarily live remain in the home until all the children are grown, after which they sell the home and share the proceeds.

Work With an Experienced Denver Property Division Lawyer

Dividing your marital property is a critical part of your divorce. Depending on what else is at stake, it could even be the most important part of your divorce. Do not begin the property division process without educating yourself about what it entails and working with an experienced
Denver divorce lawyer.

To get started with a member of our team, Dawn Rodgers at Rodgers Law, LLC today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.