Divorce is a complicated process, and the parties have many decisions to make. Among those decisions is how to divide any property that the couple has, whether owned by one of the spouses before marriage, purchased by either spouse during the marriage or given as a gift or inheritance to one of the parties.
Colorado is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally.
The court considers several factors when dividing marital property in Colorado, such as:
- The length of the marriage
- The income of each spouse
- The potential earnings of a spouse if they are not working because they are caring for the couple’s children.
- The contributions each spouse has made to the marriage.
Marital and separate property
In addition to marital property, there is also separate property. Generally, separate property is not subject to division in a divorce, and the person who owns it gets to keep it.
In Colorado, the court will look at the assets, one by one, and determine whether the asset is marital property or separate property. Marital property is property that either party acquires during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. Examples of marital property include:
- Real estate
- Personal property
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Any other assets
The court divides marital property based on what it consider fair and just, which requires the court to evaluate the case’s specific circumstances.
This may result in the court dividing assets equally, or it may result in the court giving one spouse a larger share of certain assets if it deems it necessary to achieve a fair outcome.
If one spouse owned an asset before the marriage or acquired it by gift or inheritance, it is generally considered separate property and not subject to division by the court.
It is important to note that property division in any divorce can be complex. There are many ways to settle property disputes aside from having the court decide for the parties.
If the parties are willing to settle matters involving their property outside of court, they can do so with their attorneys. In addition, some couples choose to go through mediation to resolve divorce matters, including property disputes.