In Colorado divorces, property separation follows the principles of equitable distribution. This means that marital property is divided in a manner that is fair and equitable, although not necessarily equal, depending on various factors. It’s important to note that only marital property is subject to division, while separate property typically remains with the original owner.
Marital property generally refers to assets acquired or accumulated during the marriage, regardless of which spouse obtained or earned them. Examples of marital property include homes, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, retirement savings, and other assets. Debts acquired during the marriage are also considered marital property.
On the other hand, separate property usually consists of assets owned by either spouse before the marriage or acquired individually during the marriage through inheritance or gift. It may also include property designated as separate in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
When it comes to property division, Colorado follows the principle of equitable distribution, which involves considering several factors to determine a fair division. These factors may include:
1. Length of the marriage
2. Financial contributions of each spouse during the marriage
3. Each spouse’s income and earning potential
4. The economic circumstances of each spouse after the divorce
5. The value of separate property owned by each spouse
6. Custodial arrangements for any children
7. The age and health of each spouse
8. Any dissipation or wasteful spending of marital assets
9. Any other relevant factors deemed important by the court
Colorado courts have the authority to divide marital property in a way that is fair and just, based on these factors. The court may consider various methods of property division, including awarding specific assets or debts to each spouse, ordering the sale of certain assets and dividing the proceeds, or a combination of these approaches.
It’s worth noting that Colorado is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that a spouse does not need to prove that the other spouse was at fault for the marriage breakdown. However, fault or misconduct can still be considered in certain situations when determining property division if it significantly affected the marital estate.
To navigate divorce property separation in Colorado, it is advisable to consult with a family law attorney who can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances and help ensure your rights are protected during the process.