Although choosing to divorce your spouse is a major decision, it is only the first of many decisions that will go into separating your life from theirs. One of the most impactful decisions to make is how your property will be split as you move on to your single life. If you leave your marriage with less property and assets than you are entitled to, you are likely to struggle more after you are no longer married. Your cost of living will increase since you no longer split bills with your spouse, so it is important to set yourself up for success.
Working with a skilled divorce attorney can help ensure that your property and debts are split fairly and equitably. Divorce can be mentally draining, so it pays to have an informed family law attorney in your corner. Johnson Law Group, LLC, is deeply familiar with how property is evaluated and distributed in Colorado, so we can help you create a plan for how to divide marital property with your spouse. With years of experience handling divorce cases, our compassionate attorneys can explain your rights and options so you can make the most informed choices moving forward.
As you approach the process of separating property, the first step is determining whether the property is considered marital or separate.
Once the property has been correctly classified, the marital property will then be divided between the spouses. Separate property is exempt from the asset and debt split, so correctly designating your property is vital for an equitable division. A property division attorney can provide insight into how your property is likely to be classified, allowing you to create a list of marital assets that are important to you and assets that you would be willing to part with.
Colorado follows the equitable distribution principle, meaning that the marital property is divided based on fairness instead of an exact 50/50 split. Although the division is generally even between the spouses, the focus remains on creating a fair agreement based on the specific circumstances of the divorcing couple. There are two routes for property division: the couples create their own agreement for dividing property, or a judge will step in to divide property if the couple is unable to.
Colorado courts afford divorcing couples the opportunity to create their own agreement. For lower-value items, the court highly recommends that the couple divide them on their own to reduce the time investment required of a judge to create the agreement. All property should be separated, as courts do not generally approve joint ownership of assets following a divorce. The couple can work together in mediation or arbitration to resolve any disputes about how the assets and debt should be divided.
If the couple cannot reach an equitable agreement, the court will examine the evidence of the case and then administer a ruling on how the disputed property will be divided. The couple will not have any control over the judge’s order, making it a less favorable option for some parties. Their decision may not be a 50/50 division, as their intent is to create an equitable split, not necessarily a mathematically equal split.
A: There are two general rules for property division in U.S. states: community property and equitable division. In community property states, the property division should be close to 50/50, regardless of the circumstances of the marriage or divorce. In equitable division states, the focus lies on creating an equitable division that considers aspects of the marriage and divorce, instead of a blanket 50/50 split. Colorado is an equitable division state.
A: Colorado law clearly prohibits divorcing spouses from concealing, hiding, encumbering, or depleting marital assets while the case progresses through court. Normal actions like purchasing necessities or conducting business are permitted, but actions like placing an extra mortgage on your home or removing money from your 401(k) are prohibited. Both parties are required to disclose their full financial position to the other party. An attorney can investigate your spouse’s financials and determine if they are concealing any marital assets.
A: The courts generally disfavor agreements that leave joint ownership of assets or debt. If one party is awarded an asset that currently has both parties named on the title or debt, the parties will agree to, or the court will order the awarded party to, remove the non-awarded party. This removal must happen within a set window following the divorce.
A: If the couple cannot create a property division agreement, the court will settle the unresolved issues. The judge will consider factors such as:
An experienced Commerce City family law attorney can make all the difference during your divorce. Johnson Law Group, LLC, is ready to protect your rights as you navigate this difficult process. Reach out to our office today to speak with our compassionate family law team.