When spouses divorce in Colorado, an agreement must be made about how property should be divided between the two parties. If spouses are unable to come to their own agreement, a judge will make a ruling about property division. Because Colorado is an equitable distribution state, the marital property owned by both spouses won't necessarily be divided equally.
Judges in states that acknowledge community property assume that all property acquired during a marriage belongs to both spouses and should be split down the middle in the event of divorce. In Colorado and other equitable distribution states, many different factors are considered before a decision is made about how to divide marital property. In many cases, the spouse who made a greater financial contribution to the purchase of marital property ends up being able to keep most of that property.
Before a ruling about asset division can be made, the judge must determine what property is marital property and subject to division. Marital property is any property that was acquired during the course of a marriage. Property that was excluded from marital assets as part of a legal agreement and property that was acquired through inheritance or a personal gift is exempt from asset division.
In some divorces, disputes can arise over whether certain assets should be considered marital property or personal property. If assets that a spouse considers their own property are called marital property, the spouse could stand to lose a lot in the divorce. An attorney may be able to help a spouse who is going through a contested divorce to assert their rights during property division. Every divorce involves its own unique set of circumstances, so the information in this blog should not be considered legal advice.
Source: Findlaw, "Colorado Marital Property Laws", November 25, 2014