Marital Property vs. Separate Property
When considering the division of property during a legal separation or dissolution of marriage in the State of Colorado, there are two types of property that the court will consider: marital property and separate property. “Marital Property” is property acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage, and “Separate Property” is that acquired prior to marriage. In the event of a divorce or legal separation, the courts seek to have marital property divided equitably, and although separate property remains the property of the individual who owned it prior to marriage, any appreciation, or increase in value since marriage, is considered to be marital property.
The Division of Marital Property
When dividing marital property, the Colorado court will consider the following:
• The contribution each spouse made to the marriage when acquiring the marital property
• The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective; and
• Any increases or decreases in the value of the separate property of the spouse during the marriage or the depletion of the separate property for marital purposes.
What is Considered to be Separate Property?
There is certain property that although acquired during the course of the marriage is not considered to be marital property:
1. Property acquired by inheritance or by gift is not considered marital property. (Gifts from one spouse to another during the marriage, however, can be deemed either marital or separate property.)
2. Property received in exchange for property owned prior to marriage or in exchange for property received by gift or inheritance is not considered marital property.
3. Property acquired after there has been a decree of legal separation is not considered to be marital property
4. If there is a valid legal agreement between the spouses, property may be excluded from being deemed marital property.
***The division of marital property can impact orders for maintenance:
When considering a maintenance award, the Court will consider the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to such party.