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Inheritances and property division in Colorado

In a Colorado divorce, marital property will be equitably divided between the two spouses. An equitable division is not necessarily equal. Rather, equitable division means that the division of property will be fair.

Property that is included in the marital estate and thus subject to division is called marital property, while property that is excluded is separate property. Marital property includes most types of property acquired during the marriage, even if the property was only acquired by one spouse. There are a few categories of property, however, including inheritances, that will be deemed separate property, even if the spouse who received the inheritance was married at the time of the inheritance.

Inheritances received prior to the marriage are also considered to be separate property and excluded. However, if the proceeds from an inheritance are deposited in a joint bank account that is used for the benefit of both spouses during the marriage, the inheritance becomes commingled and may lose its immunity from division. If funds have been commingled, it is still possible for the inheriting spouse to prove to the court that he or she never intended the funds to be used for the benefit of both spouses, but this argument may be difficult to prove and may require solid evidence in order to overcome the court's presumption.

People who are going through a high-asset divorce often encounter complex issues when dividing property. When someone is considering filing for divorce and is concerned about commingled assets, he or she may benefit by consulting with a family law attorney. An attorney may help with gathering needed evidence in order to try to prove his or her client's intent was for the assets to remain separate.

Source: FindLaw, "Inheritance and Divorce", December 03, 2014

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