Colorado divorce law starts with the filling of a petition in the Colorado District Court with competent jurisdiction. Once the petition is filed there is a mandatory waiting period of ninety (90) days. This period, according to C.R.S. 14-10-106, is considering a “cooling-off period.” After this period, the Court would grant a request for a divorce upon a finding that 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 divorce law is a separation, not just of the family, but of all marital assets and debts. This page goes through the various considerations that come with division of property in a divorce. The division of property in the divorce settlement may be one of the most important aspects of the proceedings, and there are many different factors that can limit or increase the settlement amount.
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. There is no way to list all potential assets for every divorce. 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. According to C.R.S. §14-10-113(3), the title of the property does not mean that it is the separate property of one spouse. Rather, the court is to presume an asset is marital property if it can be shown that the property was acquired by during the time of the marriage.
Likewise, an asset may have been acquired by one spouse before the marriage, but can still be considered marital property to the extent that it has increased in value during the time of the marriage. This increase in value may convert the separate property in part to marital assets. To determine whether an asset is marital property or separate property may depending on when it was acquired, how it was acquired (with what funds), and what the value was when it was acquired and at the time of legal separation or divorce.
Court’s Division of Property C.R.S. 14-10-113(1)
A court 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 court will also divide the marital debts. Again, this does not require the court to divide marital debts equally, but does require each spouse to be appropriate a percentage of marital debts based on an equitable analysis.
The court will determine marital assets and debts based on the submission of both parties. All assets and debts, martial or otherwise, should be included on the Sworn Financial Statement. This is the first form that the judge will see showing what needs to be divided and how to divide assets and debts in an equitable manner.
A finally, the court will consider the property and debt division when considering what if any amount to order as alimony or maintenance.
If you are going through a divorce or legal separation, you may considering contacting an attorney to determine your options. If you do decide an attorney is right for you, talk to your attorney about what you believe will be contested issues and what will not be contested issues. By narrowing what the attorney needs to work on, should lower the amount of attorneys fees that you may have to pay.
Should you like additional information on a divorce issue, please call us directly at (303) 747-4686 or click here.