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How are debts divided in a Colorado divorce?

In Colorado, a marriage is defined as a contract between a man, a woman and the state. The only way to end a marriage is through the court through an official divorce. If you've heard the term "dissolution" when referring to the end of the marriage, that's because Colorado uses that term in place of divorce. It means the same thing. If you're getting a divorce, you need to be aware that alimony still exists, but it's called spousal maintenance instead.

When you are ready to divide your debts, you must both decide on who is going to pay them in Colorado. The courts are able to determine how to divide joint debts if you're unable to do so. Interestingly, even if those items are divided between you, both of you are still responsible for the debts.

For example, if you are both on your mortgage but your ex takes over the payments, then you'd think that he would be fully responsible. Unless you have your name removed from the mortgage and loan, you could still be held liable if he falls behind on payments.

If that happens, then you'd have to pay the bill before suing your ex for the compensation needed to cover the payment. A good way to help avoid debts after divorce is to make sure you tell the creditors of shared debts that you will no longer be on the cards or mortgage. You won't be off the hook for old bills, but you won't be able to be held liable for new bills that are accrued in another party's name.

Source: United States Air Force Academy Legal Office, "Colorado Divorce Law" Oct. 31, 2014

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