Perhaps you spent most of your adult life married to the same person. During that time you may have raised children and run the family home. You may even have put your own career aspirations on hold so that your spouse could pursue other opportunities. In the end, it all paid off; you and your spouse have the home, the cars and the bank accounts to prove it.
However, for one reason or another, your marriage is ending, and a divorce is imminent. You likely have many questions and concerns, including some about what will happen to your marital property. Will this be the end of the lifestyle you’ve worked so hard for? What things will have to be given up?
Understanding marital property in Colorado
Everything purchased or received by a married couple make up their marital property. This may include items such as:
- Homes and other real estate, including time-share property
- Cars and recreational vehicles
- Household furnishings
Accumulated debts are also marital property, and subject to division during a divorce.
There are exclusions to marital property, referred to as “separate property,” that are exempt from division between the spouses. These are items either spouse owned prior to the marriage, gained ownership of after the date of separation, or had given to him or her personally as a gift or inheritance. A pre-existing legal contract, such as a prenuptial agreement, may exclude certain items from division as well.
There is no line drawn down the middle
Colorado is not a “community property” state where all the pooled assets get evenly divided. Instead, this is a “common law” state and standard practice is to handle the division of marital assets equitably. This means there will often be an uneven split, but it will be what the judge determines to be fair. While it is impossible to say what each individual will walk away with, the spouse with the greater income often receives a larger share of the marital assets.
Spouses do have the option to work out an agreement outside of a courtroom. Failing this, however, it will fall to a judge to make a decision based on evidence provided and arguments made in court.
A good lawyer may be your best martial asset
Though your hard work over the years may not directly reflect in a bank account, it doesn’t mean it was without value. Likewise, the end of your marriage should not herald the end of your way of living or your financial security. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tip the scales of justice in one’s favor.
By going into court fully prepared, you stand the best chance of coming away with a fair settlement. A skilled and dedicated lawyer can help with that preparation and provide solid representation in the courtroom.