Dividing Property in a Colorado Divorce

The laws regarding dividing a couple’s assets and property during a divorce vary from state to state. Colorado uses the “equitable distribution” model, meaning the distribution must be fair considering the circumstances, however, it does not have to be a 50/50 split down the middle.

Ideally, you and your spouse with the help of your respective attorneys will come to an agreement on how to divide everything that you own. If you and your spouse are unable to resolve your property issues outside of court, then you will have to go to court so an arbitrator or a judge can decide for you.

When a Colorado judge splits a couple’s assets and property, he or she considers the following factors to decide what is fair:

  • Each spouse’s economic circumstances.
  • The desirability of allowing the parent with physical custody of the children stay in the family home.
  • The right of a parent with physical custody of the children to remain in the family home for a reasonable length of time.
  • Any increase or decrease in separate property during the couple’s marriage.
  • Any depletion of separate property after being used for marital purposes.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

The first task at hand is to determine which property is marital and which is separate. Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired during the marriage. In contrast, separate property refers to property a spouse owned prior to the marriage, or gifts and inheritances acquired during the marriage.

Sometimes marital and separate property can be “comingled.” While some couples combine their assets intentionally, other times they do it because they don’t know any better.

To illustrate: A spouse can have a premarital bank account, however, it becomes marital property once the other spouse makes deposits into it. Or, a house owned by one of the spouses before the marriage can become marital property if the other spouse makes mortgage payments.

Sometimes deciding what belongs to whom can be confusing, and determining values can be difficult as well. If a couple needs assistance determining the values of any of their assets, they may benefit by hiring a financial professional such as a CPA.

In addition to dividing property, couples must assign all of the debt accrued during the marriage to one another, and this includes mortgages, auto loans, and credit card debts.

To learn more about property division in a Colorado divorce, contact Jones Law Firm, PC to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Denver divorce attorneys!

Categories: Divorce, Property Division