Are you curious about what happens to all of your stuff when you go through a divorce in Colorado? Hi, I’m Marie Drake of The Drake Law Firm, and today, I’m going to talk to you about the top five facts regarding property division in a divorce.
The first question I often get is “What kind of state is Colorado when it comes to division of property?” Well, it’s an equitable distribution state, but equitable doesn’t always mean equal. If one spouse has stayed home with the children and isn’t educated and the other spouse is a PhD engineer working in oil and gas, well, there’s a big difference in earning capability, and so assets might be distributed differently to make up for that.
“What do judges look at when dividing property in a divorce?” That’s a question I get a lot. There are several factors they look at. First of all, the economic circumstances and earning ability of each spouse. They also look at whether one spouse has separate property that’s increased in value a lot during the marriage. Are they using the separate property a lot? Is it going to help them after the divorce? The judges will then sometimes say, “Well, in order to give the other spouse a leg up, we’re going to give that spouse more of the marital property going forward.”
The third question I get asked a lot is “What is marital property in Colorado?” Well, marital property in Colorado is defined as any property purchased during the marriage. That means if you get married on a Saturday and buy a house on Sunday, the next day, the house is considered marital property, even if it’s titled separately. So, keep that in mind. In addition, any income earned during the marriage is marital property. Even if you’re putting it into a special fund and you have a beneficiary named who’s not your spouse it’s still considered marital property, and this is also a good reason to get a prenup, right? But keep in mind that marital property is very broadly defined in Colorado and couples need to know that going into a marriage.
The fourth question I get asked often is, “Can a premarital agreement or a post marital agreement overcome this equitable distribution of marital property rule in Colorado?” Well, yes, it can. If you reach an agreement together, whether before or during the marriage on how you’re going to dispose of your assets and debts in the event of a divorce that is generally enforceable, and it can overcome that sort of, “Hey, we need to split this up by the court method of getting divorced.” Because why? Because you have a written agreement between the two of you.
Another question I get a lot is “How is debt divided in a divorce in Colorado?” Well, any debt incurred during the marriage is considered marital, and there will be a division of that marital debt. One of the exceptions sometimes is student loan debt, because the spouse who incurred the student loan debt is going to be receiving the benefit of that education, hopefully, and they generally have to be the one to pay it off. On the other hand, if a spouse has come into a marriage and has a lot of student loan debt, and that loan debt is consolidated into marital debt, then they’re not necessarily going to be awarded just that debt, and both parties may have to pay it off. It just depends.
If you have questions about the property division process in Colorado, give us a call here at The Drake Law Firm. We’re happy to answer your questions and we’re standing by ready to help.