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How do Colorado courts handle property division?

| Sep 18, 2020 | Family Law |

Going through a divorce means you must unweave all the ties you had with your ex. It’s possible that you’ve already emotionally detached from one another months or years before you decided to legally end your marriage. But when couples are together for a short or long period of time, their finances often become entangled in complex ways.

Familiarizing yourself with the Colorado laws and factors guiding property division can help the process go smoother.

Marital vs. separate property

When a judge approves the division of a marital estate, they will make sure it follows an equitable distribution system. According to equitable distribution rules, just because you acquired an asset during marriage, that doesn’t mean that you are automatically eligible to receive half of the value of it after divorce. The court will take a deeper look at how much value you added or took away from the estate and create a fair division instead.

However, not every possession or asset you own is subject to division. For example, anything you’ve received as a gift or inheritance through the duration of your marriage will not be included in equitable distribution. This is because it is categorized as separate property and not marital property according to state law.

Economic contributions and circumstances

One way the court will decide how much you contributed to the marital estate is by reviewing the type of work you took on. Bringing paychecks home to help maintain assets or staying at home to save on childcare or take care of the home will both taken into consideration. So, if the judge decides both parties put in a similar amount of work, this factor might bring you closer to an even division — although this isn’t the goal.

The court will also look at what kind of economic circumstances each party will have after the divorce. For instance, one parent might be more equipped to buy a new house following the divorce. In this case, the parent who earns less might get to keep the family home. But the lower-earning spouse might only get to keep the house on a temporary basis.

Since the legal ins and outs of divorce are quite complicated, you can seek expert help and opinions to guide you through litigation.