Colorado divorce law starts with the filling of a petition in the Colorado District Court with competent jurisdiction. Competent jurisdiction means the place where it should be filed. If it should be filed in Denver or Adams is a question to ask your lawyer. Once the petition is filed there is a mandatory waiting period of ninety-one (91) days. This does not mean that in Denver you must wait 91 days before reaching agreements, it means a court will not sign off on the divorce for at least 91 days. As a divorce attorney, it is not unrealistic that my clients can reach agreements prior to the 91 day mark. In this scenario all information is submitted to the judge and the judge reviews it at or near the 91 day mark.
in order for a judge to grant a divorce in Denver and Colorado, the judge must find the marriage is irretrievably broken and at least one of the parties has lived in the state of Colorado for more than ninety-one (91) days. We have provided more information on the process of a Colorado Divorce.
Colorado and Denver divorce law is a separation, not just physically; but of all marital assets and debts. This page goes through the various considerations that come with division of property and debt. The division of property in the divorce settlement may be one of the most important aspects of the proceedings. There are many factors that can limit or increase the division of both assets and debts.
Division of Marital Property
Marital property is any assets acquired during the marriage (C.R.S. 14-10-113(2) except property acquired by gift or devise or property that was excluded as marital property by a valid agreement of the parties. Generally, a martial asset may include: real estate, personal property, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, financial accounts, stocks, bonds, deferred benefits, ESOP, profit sharing, defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, IRA, SIMPLE SEP, and 401(k) accounts, stock options, tax benefits, business ventures such as corporations, partnerships, professional practices, family businesses, frequent flier program awards, contractual rights, personal injury awards, and other similar legal claims.
One question received by divorce attorneys is if an asset is titled in one person’s name, is it separate property? The answer is no. According to C.R.S. §14-10-113(3), the title of the property does not make the asset the separate property of one spouse.
Often, you may have had an asset prior to the marriage. This would be considered separate property. However, if during the marriage the asset increased in value, the increase in value may be martial property. The best example is a 401k plan. If you had a 401k plan with a value of $10,000.00 on the date of the marriage and it had a value of $20,000.00 on the date of the divorce, $10,000.00 would be considered your separate property and $10,000.00 would be considered martial property.
All mariaal property is subject to division in Colorado and Denver divorces. To determine whether an asset is marital property or separate property requires a review of the method, date, and use of the asset. If you have a question as to the classification of an asset, we recommend consulting a divorce attorney.
Court’s Division of Property C.R.S. 14-10-113(1)
A judge is required to divide property in an equitable manner. This does not mean that assets will be split 50/50. The court must first set aside each spouse’s separate property and then divide the marital property, without regard to marital misconduct, as the court deems just after considering all relevant factors including:
(a) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
(b) The value of the property set apart to each spouse;
(c) The 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; and
(d) Any 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.
Division of Marital Debts
In addition to dividing all of the marital property, the judge will also divide marital debts. Again, in Colorado and Denver, this does not require the court to divide marital debts equally, but does require each spouse to be appropriate a percentage of marital debt based on an equitable analysis.
The judge will determine the amount of martial debt based on the submission of both parties. Meaning if you forget to include a debt it may not be properly portioned. It is very important to include all debt and assets on your submitted sworn financial statement. The sworn financial statement is what lawyers will look at to determine an equitable divide of property and debt.
The amount of property and debt allocated to one person may impact if or how much a spouse must pay in spousal support. Your divorce attorney should be able to determine proper maintenance payments after the division of assets and debts. It should not be completed before the division of assets and debts.
If you are going through a divorce or legal separation, you may considering contacting a divorce attorney to determine your options. If you do decide a lawyer is right for you, talk to your divorce attorney about what you believe will be contested issues and what will not be contested issues. By narrowing what the divorce attorney needs to work on, should lower the amount of fees that you may have to pay.
Should you like additional information on a Denver or Colorado divorce issue, please call us directly at (303) 835-1240 or click here.