As people go through a divorce in Colorado they must make decisions regarding almost every aspect of their lives. Divorce is not always an easy process as people must separate one shared life into two separate lives. This means that if they have children they must make decisions about custody and parenting time to determine when each parent will see their children. They also must decide what they will do with the house and divide bank accounts, retirement accounts and other property and assets that they own.
In order to divide the property and assets that people own, the first step is determining which property is marital property.
Martial Property vs. Separate Property
Marital property generally includes any property that either spouse acquired after the date that the parties were married. It does not matter which spouse received it or earned it, whose name is on account or which name is on the title of the property. Marital property can also include portions of property a spouse acquired prior to the marriage, if certain conditions are met and the property increased in value during the marriage.
Separate property generally includes all property one spouse acquired prior to the date of the marriage. It also includes property one spouse received during the marriage pursuant to a gift or inheritance; any property acquired during the marriage that was acquired in exchange for property owned prior to the marriage or through a gift or inheritance; and any property specifically excluded from marital property through a valid prenuptial agreement.
Factors Used to Divide Property
Once marital and separate property is determined, the next step is to determine which spouse will receive which property and assets. Each spouse does not automatically receive equal portions of the property, there are certain factors that people analyze to determine a fair distribution.
One factor is the contribution each spouse made to obtain the asset. This includes the contributions a spouse made at home that allowed the other spouse to earn more money or allow the couple to save money on child-care by staying home with the children. Another factor is determining the value of the property each spouse has in their possession. The amount separate property increased in value during the marriage or if a spouse used separate property during the marriage is also used in determining distribution. For purposes of determining which spouse will receive the house, there is a preference to allow the spouse who has the children the majority of the time to remain in the home. Finally, the overall financial circumstances of each spouse are analyzed to determine how much a spouse may need after the divorce to continue to meet their lifestyle.
Dividing the couple’s assets is just one aspect of a divorce in Colorado, but it something that needs to be done despite any anger people may have towards the other spouse. Any wrongdoing on the part of either spouse is not considered when dividing assets, just the factors stated above. In order to help ensure that assets are divided fairly, people may find a consultation with an experienced attorney helpful.