Equitably Dividing Your Property
How Is Property Divided in Colorado?
Colorado family law courts abide by a principle of “equitable distribution.” What this means is that a judge will divide property according to what is “fair,” not necessarily what is equal. For example, a higher earner may claim more than half of the estate in a divorce according to his or her income.
Before the assets can be divided, however, the court must determine what is “marital” or “separated” property. These labels refer to what property is jointly-owned by the spouses, and what belongs solely to one couple. For example, an heirloom from a grandmother would be a small example of “separated” property. For real estate, couples are not asked to literally divide the house—rather, the court will determine the total value of all property, and assign a percentage of total value to each spouse.
The process of property distribution is a complex process, even in amicable divorces. The complexity of property distribution can be mitigated through cooperative negotiation. When spouses empower themselves to divide the property according to what they believe is fair between each other, they avoid the potentially unpredictable decision of the court. Though state laws have been designed to provide for spouses what is fair, no one knows your own situation better that you and your spouse.
Is My Spouse Entitled To My Retirement?
Retirement accounts are one of the most divided assets in any divorce proceeding. Typically, any increase in value since the time of marriage is subject to division. Whether you have a qualified plan such as a 401(k) or a non-qualified plan such as an IRA, it is imperative to understand how to effectively use these assets to obtain an equitable division of property and maintain adequate funds to finance your retirement.
What Is Marital Property?
“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. Contrary to popular belief, the manner in which the property is titled is not conclusive.”
Any property obtained during the marriage, even property that has only one spouse’s name on the title, may still be deemed marital and divided between the spouses. Bank accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, club memberships, frequent flyer miles, stock options for past services, and any tangible property such as automobiles all fall under property obtained during the marriage that may only have one spouse’s name as the “owner.”
Our Divorce Attorneys Can Fight For What’s Rightfully Yours
At The Harris Law Firm, our experienced divorce lawyers are deeply familiar with how property is evaluated, calculated, and distributed. We can represent you to ensure that you receive what is fair. We know that certain financial situations are far more complicated than they appear—our attorneys can make your voice heard in divorce proceedings, either in court or in negotiations. Our lawyers are highly-skilled in discovery and negotiation, meaning we can make sure that each and every asset that ought to be divided is counted. For property distribution cases of all kinds, you can count on the insight of our Colorado family law attorneys.