During a divorce, there is a range of issues that must be considered. One of the most complex matters to resolve is the division of property, assets, and debts. Therefore, spouses who are experiencing divorce may seek help from compassionate legal counsel when navigating property division issues. Family law attorneys work with clients to tailor legal strategies designed to protect their property and assets during divorce and ensure that their individual needs are considered at every point in the process. If you are seeking a divorce and need to answer the question, is Colorado a community property state, consider contacting an experienced Littleton, Colorado, family law attorney at the Colorado Divorce Law Group by calling (720) 593-6442 today.
Different states have different legal standards in place that are used for dividing property, assets, and debts in a divorce. Some states use the community property standard while others rely on equitable distribution. According to the American Bar Association with the exception of gifts or inheritances, community property states consider the property and assets of a married couple to be jointly owned, even if the title is in only one spouse’s name.
Equitable division, on the other hand, does not assume that all property and assets acquired during the marriage are jointly owned. Rather, all property will be divided equitably between the spouses based on what is considered fair. Most states are equitable distribution states, which means that the court will consider one spouse’s assets to be his or her own property unless the couple has opted to share them.
How will my property and assets be handled in a divorce? Is Colorado a community property state? These common questions highlight the importance of understanding how property is divided between spouses and how certain assets will be distributed in a court proceeding for a divorce. Colorado is not a community property state. In Colorado, the assets of a marriage are divided fairly and equitably between spouses, even if this division is not necessarily equal. Therefore, the concept of community property will not be relevant for most couples pursuing divorce in Colorado.
Instead, Colorado law uses the concept of marital property versus separate property. Marital property refers to property that a spouse obtained over the course of the marriage. This may include the primary residence, vehicles, and financial accounts. Separate property, alternatively, is generally property that was owned by one spouse before the marriage or any inheritance or gift received by one spouse.
After considering the question, is Colorado a community property state, the next point of concern for many divorcing couples is how their property will be divided. According to the Colorado General Assembly, marital property is divided based on the rules and regulations set forth in the Colorado Revised Statutes 14-10-113. Any property that is acquired during the marriage is typically subject to distribution during a divorce. When dividing the property, the court will evaluate the case to make an equitable distribution. Circumstances may call for an unequal division, which may be necessary if one spouse earns significantly more income than the other. If a couple is unable to negotiate the issue of property division on their own terms, the court will divide property based on what is equitable. The following factors are used to make this determination:
Given these considerations, property division will look different for each couple. The decision will be left to the judge’s discretion based on the unique circumstances of the case. A knowledgeable family law attorney from the Colorado Divorce Law Group may be able to provide further insight into how property is divided in Colorado and what strategies may be used to protect one spouse’s interest in specific assets.
When dividing property, assets, and debts in Colorado, there are three important steps, including:
The first step is to determine which property is considered marital property and which is considered separate property. However, classifying some property may be difficult due to commingling, which occurs when couples combine their separate assets either intentionally or by accident. The judge may need to determine how the commingled property will be divided.
After classifying all property as either marital or separate, the next step is to assess the value of the property. As some assets, such as retirement accounts or investment portfolios, may be difficult to evaluate, it may be necessary to have an appraiser, CPA, or actuary complete a valuation.
Finally, once all property has been assigned a monetary value, the spouses can begin dividing the assets. In some cases, property may be sold and proceeds divided between the spouses. Former spouses may remain co-owners of some assets, but this is a relatively uncommon scenario. Generally, specific items will be given to each spouse, and one spouse may be required to make an equalizing payment when one spouse receives substantially more property than the other.
While asking is Colorado a community property state brings a relatively straightforward answer, navigating the division of property can be much more complex. For many divorcing couples, negotiating the division of property and assets is a major source of disagreement. However, it may be possible to mitigate the likelihood of dispute through careful planning. A family law attorney may be able to work with you to understand your needs and develop a strategy that optimizes your outcome during divorce. Since Colorado is not a community property state, you may be able to negotiate an ideal settlement for your case. To begin the process of protecting your hard-earned property, consider contacting an experienced attorney at the Colorado Divorce Law Group by calling (720) 593-6442 to schedule a consultation today.