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In Colorado, property acquired during a marriage is generally considered marital property. Therefore, assets and debts acquired during the marriage are divided equitably between each spouse when the marriage is dissolved legally. Although the process of dividing the assets should occur peacefully, this is not always the case.

Divorces are painful and emotional. Tensions can occur between couples as disputes arise over asset ownership. At Duncan Legal, I will help you protect your valuable assets and fight for a successful resolution. My goal is for you to come out of a difficult situation in a way that sets you up for a successful new chapter in your life. I proudly serve clients in Littleton and Centennial, Colorado, and surrounding communities.

What’s The Difference Between Separate Property And Marital Property?

Some disputes arise out of confusion about separate (personal) property and marital (community) property. An experienced family law attorney can explain the legal difference and can bring clarity to a divorce proceeding and resolve or prevent conflict.

Separate Property

Separate property is property that belongs solely to one spouse. The term, separate property, can be broad in its definition but limited in its scope and legal application. Some possible examples of separate property include:

  • Property that a spouse owned before the marriage
  • An inheritance that the spouse received before or after the marriage
  • A gift given specifically to a spouse from a third party
  • Compensation for damages in a personal injury lawsuit

However, an item that may be classified as the separate property of one spouse is not necessarily off-limits to the other spouse. When disputes arise over ownership, a mediator or judge may decide where the ownership lies. Or, each spouse may work out a settlement through their attorneys to prevent the dispute from going to court.

Marital Property

Marital or community property is the property that both spouses can claim ownership of equally. It is typically property that was purchased or acquired during the marriage. Any earnings or debts that occur during the marriage can be split 50/50 when the marriage is dissolved.

Therefore, a spouse may not eliminate, alter or transfer any community property without the legal consent of the other spouse. However, they are allowed to manage half of the assets or property. Examples of marital property may include:

  • Real estate
  • Bank accounts, investments or retirement accounts
  • Business interests
  • Vehicles
  • Household items or pets

Upon the official legal dissolution of the marriage, the courts may divide the assets to each spouse according to Colorado laws. If possible, spouses may work out a settlement in mediation prior to the court date.

How Property And Assets Are Divided

The division of assets or property is not always based on a percentage (i.e., 50/50) but, rather, what is fair. The circumstances of the marriage and the divorce will be considered by the court in making their determination. There are several factors that determine how the property and assets are divided, including:

Each Spouse’s Contribution

The court looks at the total contributions of each spouse. Keep in mind that the contributions are not always financial. For instance, the court may award a spouse property or assets based on their contribution as the homemaker.

The Value Of The Property Or Debts

The value of the property is assessed and set aside to each spouse at the time a petition is filed for a divorce. Increases or decreases in the value of the property or debts during the marriage may affect how the property is divided.

Economic Circumstances Of Each Spouse

The economic circumstances of each spouse are factored in to determine each spouse’s ability to support themselves or their children. As such, child custody, child support and alimony may play a role in the division of assets.

Get Help From A Divorce Lawyer Who Fights For You

Do you need legal assistance during a divorce? If so, my law firm can help. Call 303-222-7021 or click this link to find out more about legal services that are available. I work with clients in Littleton, Centennial, Greenwood Village, Parker, Arapahoe County and Douglas County, Colorado.