Property Division Attorney in Castle Rock, Colorado
Most married couples happily acquire assets during their marriage. They assume a mortgage for their home, buy cars and other vehicles, furnish their home, and take vacations. They believe what’s mine and what’s yours is now ours.
This arrangement works well so long as the marriage is working. For three marriages out of every 1,000 in Colorado, though, it doesn’t. When a marriage fails, all those assets become part and parcel of property division in divorce, and things can sometimes be contentious.
If you are considering divorce filing for divorce, or have been served papers, you need to protect your right to your fair share of what you and your spouse acquired during the marriage. After all, you are preparing to begin a new chapter in your life. You need to begin it with everything you are entitled to in order to start over. That is where we come in.
At Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC, our attorney is ready to guide you through the complexities of divorce and property division in Colorado. When we represent a client in divorce, we strive for a favorable result and a brighter future. If you live in Castle Rock, Centennial, Castle Pines, Elizabeth, Franktown, Highland Ranch, Kiowa, Larkspur, Lone Tree, Parker, or anywhere else in Colorado, our family law attorney is here to help.
How Does Property Division Work in Colorado Divorce?
Who gets what in divorce in Colorado is a matter of equitable division. In community property states, marital property is divided down the middle. In equitable division states such as Colorado, it is divided “fairly,” as the court believes is equitable but not necessarily equal.
The division of marital property can be complicated, even in the most amicable of divorces. Listing all the items acquired during the marriage, like furniture, artwork, vehicles, and appliances, is a cumbersome but necessary task. However, these items are more easily divided.
Others are not so black and white but rather, shades of gray, such as partial claims to the value of separate property, income generated by a family business or by self-employment, and division of retirement accounts or pensions.
Separate property is that which each person brought to the marriage rather than acquired during it. It also includes gifts received by one person or a family inheritance. Separate property remains that of the person who owns it. However, this non-marital property may have been intermingled during the marriage. If so, then a portion of the value added during the marriage may be subject to division.
For example, a couple lives in a house one spouse inherited. After they moved in, both spouses contributed to the maintenance of the home, or they used marital income to renovate the home. If so, part of the value belongs to both spouses, even if the house was inherited by only one of them.
Businesses are generally viewed as marital property, especially if both spouses own and operate it. However, one spouse may have started the business prior to the marriage or joined their family’s business before or during the marriage. Establishing the value of a business as of the date of marriage is critical to determining how much of that asset is marital and what may be separate.
Likewise, retirement accounts and pensions may have only one spouse’s name on them, but the value acquired during the marriage is marital property and as such, may be subject to division.
Who Determines How Assets Are Divided in Colorado Divorce?
At the end of the day, the judge will determine the equitable division of marital assets in a Colorado divorce. If the divorce is uncontested and the couples can agree on the value and division of marital assets, that division will be documented in the marital dissolution agreement submitted to the court. Although the judge will review it, your family law attorney will ensure that you are agreeing to what is a fair and equitable distribution of assets.
If the divorce is contested, the judge will determine how property is divided. Contested divorces allow each spouse to argue the valuation of property and make their individual cases for what is equitable. You benefit tremendously from having a seasoned family law attorney representing you at any stage of the process.
What Factors Are Considered to Determine What is Equitable?
Numerous factors are considered in determining equitable distribution of marital property. Such factors may include how long the marriage lasted, the earning capacity, age and health status, and financial needs of each spouse, the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage, and prior marriages and related obligations.
The value of each spouse’s separate property is weighed. So are the contributions each spouse made during the marriage, which includes credit for a stay-at-home spouse’s contributions to the household and to any children during the marriage.
Property Division Attorney in Castle Rock, Colorado
What is equitable is not necessarily equal. That is why you need to work with an experienced family law attorney who has tackled complex property division issues in Colorado divorces. Remember, only your attorney will be looking out for your best interests in the process. Reach out to Law Office of Lori Crystal, LLC in Castle Rock, Colorado today to schedule a time when we can talk about your situation.