People in Colorado each have unique marriages. They last varying lengths, people have varying numbers of children, they earn various amounts of money and acquire various amounts of assets during the marriage. That means if the couple divorces, each divorce will be unique as well. However, the overall issues that will need to be resolved will be similar. People will need to make determinations regarding custody, parenting time and child support if they have minor children and will need to divide their assets.
Each of these issues are fact-specific though and how they are resolved will depend on the unique circumstances of the marriage. When dividing assets, the amount of assets, types of assets and the nature of the assets will all factor into how the assets are ultimately divided. One of the first steps couples need to take though when dividing assets is to determine what is marital property and what is separate property, which includes the following types of property:
- Gifts to only one spouse.
- Inheritances given to only one spouse.
- Property owned by a spouse prior to the marriage, but only the value of the property at the time of the marriage. If separate property gains value during the marriage, the increase in value could be considered marital.
- Property acquired during the marriage in exchange for property owned prior to the marriage or in exchange of property a spouse received by gift or inheritance.
- Property received or earned by a spouse after a legal separation.
- Property that is excluded by valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreements between the spouses.
All other property received, earned or acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property regardless of which spouse’s name is on the title or on the account.
Once the parties are able to determine which property is marital and which property is separate, the parties can begin dividing the property equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally. Property division can be a difficult and complicated process and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.