How Will Property be Divided Between my Spouse and Me in my Divorce?
Most couples accumulate assets and debt in the course of their marriage. In marriages of long duration especially there may be a substantial amount of marital property. It is not always easy to determine how to divide the property when a couple will create two new homes. An attorney can help identify separate and marital property, aid in valuations and assist in creating division plans. Marital property is divided equitably in Colorado, without regard to marital misconduct. Property may not be divided equally under equitable distribution but equal distribution is the start point for most courts. Courts do not consider why a marriage is ending, but simply create a fair division of property.Separate vs. Marital Property
The first step involves determining what property is separate and marital. Marital property includes assets and debt acquired by either spouse during marriage. It does not matter how the property is titled. Separate property includes assets or debt acquired prior to the marriage or acquired during the marriage as a gift or inheritance.
- Property titled in one spouse’s name is still marital property if acquired during the marriage.
- Gifts or inheritances received during the marriage are separate property.
- Some property is mixed. If separate property appreciates during the marriage then there is a marital interest in the appreciated value.
If parties comingle separate property during the marriage, then it can become marital property. For example, if one spouse has a separate bank account, however both parties make deposits into it during the marriage it can become marital property.Property Division
When deciding how to equitably divide marital assets, a court will consider among others, the following factors:
- The income, resources and financial need of each spouse;
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, not just financial;
- The increase or decrease in any separate property during the marriage;
- The health and age of each spouse.
The property must be valued. Sometimes an owner can identify the value and sometimes more formal methods, such as appraisals, are necessary. High value assets, such as houses, businesses, collectibles and retirement plans are typically appraised or valued. A Court can also consider whether children should remain in the marital home for a period of time if that would be in the best interests of the child. In this situation the other spouse may have a delay to receive his or her interest in the home until the other spouse remarries or the children leave the home.Dissipation of Marital Property
If a court finds that a spouse misused martial property for non-marital purposes, then a court may compensate the other spouse in the property distribution process. However a Court can not compensate one spouse for a marital expenditure that the other simply disagreed with during the course of the marriage. The Court can compensate for acts such as removing money from an investment before filing for divorce to prevent the other spouse from receiving any of the asset.
How can an attorney help? An attorney can assist you in property division by handling all paperwork, coordination, negotiation, mediation and/or court proceedings and in answering your questions about the process and the law.Janko Family Law - Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. The court system is more complex than it should be. We can guide you through the Colorado Springs court experience by handling pleading and motion preparation and filing, negotiation, mediation, and court proceedings from start to finish. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on trying to figure out how the overly complex court system works. Remember that change often creates new opportunity and a better future. Janko Family Law can help ensure that your best interests are protected. Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.