Factors considered when separating property in a CO divorce case
Colorado uses an equitable distribution of property model, which looks at several factors when dividing marital property in a divorce case.
Couples who are going through a divorce in Colorado have many details to discuss regarding their marriage dissolution. For many people, dividing up property that has been acquired during years of marriage can be one of the most challenging issues to face during the divorce process. Not only is the negotiations process emotionally draining, but it can be difficult for people to know whether they are getting everything that they are entitled to in the settlement.
The Colorado court divides marital property in an equitable, or fair, manner. Rather than split the estate and assets equally in half, the equitable division of property model requires the judge to consider different factors surrounding the divorce before making his or her final decision. These factors will help determine who is in need of the property and assets, as well as who deserves certain things out of the marriage.
Separate or marital
Before the property can be divided, it must be categorized as either marital or separate. According to Colorado code, any property that a person owns before getting married, as well as any inheritance he or she receives is deemed separate property. This also includes any gifts that were given to the spouse, either by the other spouse or by a third-party. Separate property cannot be divided when the marriage is terminated, but stays in the possession of the original owner.
All other property and assets that are obtained during the marriage may be considered marital. This list can be lengthy depending on how long the marriage lasted or experiences that occurred during the marriage. While real estate, cars, boats, bank accounts and life insurance policies are some of the most obvious items of marital property, there may be more obscure items as well. Pensions, retirement plans, art collections, club memberships, patents and benefits from previous employers may also be marital.
Contribution to the marriage
Whether one spouse stayed at home to raise the children, or both spouses worked full-time positions in order to support the family, the judge will consider each spouses contribution to the marriage. In some cases, one person may work to support the other as they go through school or further their career. In the meantime, they have put their own career on hold and may have refrained from furthering their own education.
Other factors involved
Every divorce case is unique, and may have different circumstances involved in the separation. A Colorado judge will look at how long the couple has been married, as well as the age, health and education of each spouse. The current employment and income of both parties is also important when deciding how to separate property in an equitable manner.
Obtaining legal assistance
People who are going through a divorce may find it difficult to make critical decisions on their own during this hard time. An attorney may provide essential legal assistance to those who are terminating their marriage in Colorado.
Keywords: divorce, distribution, property