Colorado Springs married couples facing the unfamiliar and confusing Colorado divorce process have thousands of questions about how things work and what to expect, with one of the most common being “How is marital property divided in Colorado?”
Bryson Perkins is often called upon for his expertise as an asset protection attorney in Colorado Springs. Keep reading to discover what you must know about how marital property is divided in Colorado during a divorce.
There are Only Two Ways Marital Property Disputes are Going to Get Resolved
Figuring out “who gets what” and “who gets to stay in the house” can raise a lot of emotions and cause significant conflict during an already difficult time. As with almost every aspect of a Colorado divorce, there are two ways to resolve marital property division issues:
The parties reach an agreement
A judge makes the decisions as to how to divide the couple’s assets.
The law governing property and asset division in Colorado is often complicated, and disputes over marital property ownership can be contentious, requiring an experienced divorce attorney who fully understands the principles that decide who gets what when a marriage ends.
Marital Property vs Separate Property
The first step in any Colorado Springs property division analysis is to determine what assets are “marital property” and which are “separate property.” Only marital property is subject to division and distribution by a judge in a divorce (though the parties can agree otherwise).
Generally, separate property is those assets each spouse had in their possession at the time they got married. Separate property can also include any gifts or inheritance a spouse receives during the marriage.
Marital property, on the other hand, is everything else that either or both spouses acquire during the marriage, including the increase in value or appreciation of separate property while married.
Equitable Distribution and How Marital Property is Divided by Colorado Law
Once the parties or a judge figure out what the universe of the marital property consists of, a legal principle called “equitable distribution” controls who will get what. It is important to understand that “equitable” is not the same thing as “equal.”
Equitable does not mean 50/50. Instead, Colorado judges will consider several factors in determining how to fairly and equitably distribute a couple’s assets. Contrary to what many folks think, a judge will not consider any marital misconduct by a spouse in deciding how to divide the property.
Factors A Judge Considers When Deciding How to Resolve Marital Property Disputes
A Colorado Springs family court judge will look at the following factors in determining how to divide marital property and assets between the parties:
How much each spouse contributed to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker
The current value of the property given to each spouse in the property award
Economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse with whom any children reside the majority of the time
Increases or decreases in the value of the separate property of the spouse during the marriage or the depletion of the separate property for marital purposes.
How Will a Colorado Springs Judge Divide the Marital Home?
For many if not most divorcing couples in Colorado Springs, their home is the single largest asset they own. Significant not only for its monetary value but for its emotional meaning as well.
In dividing the value of a marital home, a Colorado Springs court will determine the amount of equity in the property and share that amount between the parties, with adjustments and buyouts made if one of the spouses will keep the home.
Equity consists of the market value of the home, minus any liabilities against the property, such as mortgages, home equity loans, taxes, or other legitimate liens.
A judge can divide the marital home’s equity in one of three main ways:
The parties to the divorce sell the house and split the proceeds
One spouse retains ownership, refinances the home, and “buys out” the other party
- When children are involved, the custodial parent remains in the home with the exclusive use and possession for a specified period (until the kids go off to college, for example), then either can buy out the other spouse’s interest in the house or sells the home and divides the proceeds between themselves.
What to Watch Out for During the Marital Property Division Process
What can make the question “How is marital property divided?” particularly tricky are issues relating to the proper valuation of property, the allocation of debts and liabilities, and providing for the distribution of such assets as pensions, retirement accounts, profit-sharing plans, and similar assets.
Ensuring that each spouse receives a fair distribution of marital property that reflects the proper value of that property and complies with the law is a task that no one going through a divorce should try without sound guidance and counsel from an experienced Colorado Springs divorce attorney.
Colorado Springs Divorce Attorney Bryson Perkins Is Ready to Help You
Colorado Springs divorce attorney Bryson Perkins brings his extensive experience, smart and strategic advocacy, and fierce determination to men and women dealing with the stress of figuring out how marital property is divided according to Colorado law. Calling him to arrange for your free initial consultation is the first step in putting this ordeal behind you.
With genuine care about your well-being and a lack of judgment about you or the circumstances surrounding the divorce, Bryson will listen to your story, help you understand your options, and develop a strategy to get you the best possible result. Bryson will bring his many years of experience to your situation and help you explore alternatives to get the best outcome for you and your family.