Many Colorado residents have likely heard and are familiar to a degree with the terms community property and equitable distribution. It is just as likely, though, that many do not know much about these concepts, given that they are legal terms applying to property ownership and how a court will handle property division matters in a marital dissolution.

This quick hypothetical inquiry can serve as an optimal lead in to the terms and the legal systems they encompass for the conveyance of assets in a divorce: Who owns that boat (or car or jewelry or family business or vacation home), and how will its worth be allocated between soon-to-be former spouses — if at all — in a divorce?

Colorado is, along with a majority of other states, an equitable distribution state, meaning that not all property acquired during divorce is automatically deemed equally co-owned and destined for a 50/50 split in a divorce settlement, as is the case in a community property state.

However, even a spouse lacking any ownership in an asset might still receive some fair portion of its worth in Colorado and other equitable distribution states. The goal is always fairness, with a result being that marital property might be equally split or perhaps not.

An experienced Colorado divorce attorney with a proven background in property division matters can obviously be a key resource in any divorce involving property division, especially in a high-asset divorce. As pointed out by a family law author in a recent Forbes article, experienced legal counsel can help a client get to the core of what is deemed separate and marital property and, as regards the latter, help ensure that a fair result is achieved in a divorce settlement.

Source: Forbes, “Divorcing women: the truth about your husband’s 401(k) and other assets,” Jeff Landers, Aug. 8, 2013