Colorado is an "Equitable Distribution" state, meaning that issues regarding marital property and debt during a Colorado divorce are generally settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement within the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. All marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. The term "equitable" is defined by the court as "that which is fair, but not necessarily equal." Marital assets in Colorado are not necessarily divided 50/50. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the District Court will take the following steps to divide the assets;
- The discovery process will classify assets and debts as marital verses separate.
- A monetary value will be assigned to the marital property and debt.
- The court will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what the District Court deems to be fair.
The court divides marital property after considering all relevant factors including:
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker
- The value of the property given to each spouse in the property award
- The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse with whom any children reside the majority of the time
- Any changes in the value of the separate property of the spouse during the marriage or the depletion of the separate property for marital purposes. (Colorado Revised Statutes; Article 10, Section 14-10-113