You can accumulate quite a bit during a marriage. Houses, cars, bank accounts, business interests, investments, electronics, and even airline miles need to be divided.

A Colorado divorce attorney can work with you to divide your marital property amicably. If there’s a disagreement, then the lawyer may recommend mediation. If the dispute still can’t be settled, it might be necessary to go to court. However, this course of action is typically the last resort.

Colorado is an Equitable Distribution State

In Denver, CO, the law for divorce states that property should be divided equitably. However, equitable doesn’t necessarily mean equal. Instead, the interpretation of the word is “fair.”

As you can imagine, in many instances, the parties in a divorce tend to disagree about what’s fair. Longer marriages, in particular, tend to result in finances that have been interwoven. It can be a challenge to distinguish between what is marital property and what is separate property. An attorney can help you reach a fair settlement.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

When you’re married, everything acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. This type of property is what gets divided. Separate property is classified as anything acquired before the marriage, as well as some assets acquired during, such as gifts and inheritances. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Here’s a brief overview of the types of assets that get divided in divorce:

  • Property – primary residence, vacation homes, timeshares, owned rentals, and other real estate
  • Vehicles – cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, recreational vehicles
  • Bank accounts
  • Investments – stocks, bonds, stock options, mutual funds, etc.
  • Retirement plans – including IRAs, 401(k), pensions, and other plans
  • Household items – furniture, electronics, tools, etc.
  • Business interests that leveraged martial assets and effort
  • Pay bonuses received during the marriage

When it comes time to divide the assets, not all of the assets are physically divided. You can’t cut a television in half, after all! Instead, the value of all of the non-divisible assets is summed up and then divided equitably between the spouses after paying off mutual debts and other considerations.

How Equity is Determined

The division of assets isn’t always a 50/50 split. There are several factors to consider when determined what’s equitable, including when, how, and why the property was acquired. Other circumstances to evaluate are the contribution of each spouse to the marriage (both as an earner or a homemaker), the increase or decrease in value of the property during the marriage, individual economic circumstances, and whether there are children involved.

Blurring the Lines Between Separate and Marital Property

Marriage and finances can get complicated, which is why it’s smart to work with an experienced divorce attorney to divide assets fairly.

One example of a blurred line is a rental property acquired by one party before the marriage that is then refinanced using the marital property. Also, if the other spouse manages the building, or helps with improvements and remodeling projects, then it could further the argument for marital vs. separate property.

To discuss how to divide your marital property in Denver, CO, contact the Law Offices of Brian S. Popp for a consultation.