Aside from determining child custody and support issues, dividing assets in divorce (and debt) is the most important (and, often, time-consuming) aspect of divorce. In Colorado, the division of property and other assets basically comes down to marital and separate property. Determining which property is marital and which is separate can be a complex task that requires the experience and knowledge of an experienced Colorado divorce attorney like the ones at the Harris Law Firm.
Because doing an inventory of assets and debts can be a long, tedious process, if you and your spouse have acquired a good deal of material things during your marriage, a pro se divorce is not your best option. When hundreds of thousands of dollars is at stake, you want to be sure you remember to inventory everything you and your spouse own together or separately.
Some people do not even realize that certain property is considered marital property. Anything that is considered marital property can be divided among the spouses during a divorce. Marital property is defined as “any property which either spouse acquires during their marriage, except for property acquired by gift, inheritance or property excluded by a prenuptial agreement.”
“Separate” property is typically owned only by one spouse and is not subject to division. But you would be surprised at what is considered marital property, especially if you have been a stay-at-home parent and/or do not handle the finances for the home. For instance, if you and your spouse purchased a house twenty years ago but your name is not on the house, you are still entitled to a portion of the value of the home’s appreciation over the years.
Marital property is a legal term that covers a vast number of types of property a couple may come to own including:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Insurance policies
- Frequent flyer miles
- Personal property including items as small as tools or clothes
This list is not a complete list of what may be considered marital property. Debts incurred by spouses while married are also subject to division. Examples of marital debt include student loans that were incurred during the marriage or credit card debt by either spouse. Debts are often associated with an asset, and the court will often assign these debts to the spouse who retains the asset.
If you have a question about the division of property in divorce, please contact the Harris Law Firm today.