Property Division in Colorado Divorce

Determining How Marital Property Will Be Divided

Most people know that Colorado is an ‘Equitable Distribution’ state when it comes to dividing marital property. What that means is not nearly as well known.

The most important thing you need to understand is this: equitable does not mean equal. It does not necessarily mean an automatic 50/50 split of the sum total of the marital assets.

What Equitable Distribution in Colorado really means, by law, is that dividing property must be ‘equitable and fair.”

Marital v. Separate Property

The most important question, then, before anyone starts to look at what a fair division of property may be, is: “What assets and debts are included in the marital property?”

Marital property will include all assets – and debts – the spouses accumulate over the course of the marriage.

That means virtually anything of value. Just a few examples:

Separate property – the assets and debts a spouse brought to the marriage or acquired through gift or inheritance – may be  excluded from division. That seems simple but is complicated by this: if the separate property increases in value during the marriage, the increase is considered marital property. Sometimes, as when a home that was owned prior to marriage and was sold during it, the court will need to trace where the proceeds from the sale went. If they were deposited into a jointly titled account or used to acquire a jointly titled asset, they are no longer considered separate property.

This can get very complicated, very quickly.

Property Distribution

Even in the most amicable of divorces the process of equitably distributing the property can be complex and, yes, stressful. This can be greatly mitigated if the parties cooperate and negotiate with one another. They can do this with their attorneys, in mediation, and/or with an arbiter – there’s no need to choose beforehand.

The last option is litigation. In that case a judge will look at the assets, consider the spouses’ positions, and make a ruling. Judges in Colorado will most likely consider each of the following factors when determining a fair and equitable distribution of property:

  • The financial situation of each spouse;
  • Any increase or decrease in the value of property throughout the marriage;
  • The desire of the parent who receives primary custody to live in the family home;
  • Any use of  separate property for the marriage.

It is exceedingly important to remember that marital debts are also equitably distributed. This includes mortgages and car loans (where we take the net value of the asset), loans on retirement accounts, credit card debts, and more.

Halligan LLC’s Role

Halligan LLC is experienced in every aspect in how property is evaluated, calculated, and distributed. We are  dedicated to seeing that our clients receive what is fair. We know financial situations can be far more complicated than they appear, and we strive to handle those complexities while explaining them simply and directly to our clients every step of the way.

We will make your voice heard in divorce proceedings, in negotiations or, if necessary, court. We have experience in discovering assets that have been hidden. We are skilled in discovery and negotiation and we will ensure that every asset is counted and divided equitably.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Contact Form
Disclaimer: The use of this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential information should not be sent through this form.

Read What Our Clients Say About Us

Client Testimonials

    I am so thankful to have had Gavin, Laura, and the rest of Halligan LLC in my corner during a very difficult process. At the end of the day, I can honestly say that I got almost everything I desired including a great parenting plan that will allow me to have as much time with my son as possible.

    I give them my highest possible recommendation. My divorce had some complicating factors including children, a variety of asset types, and partial ownership of a business which needed to be addressed. Gavin and her team were always knowledgeable and prepared for every step in the process.

    Simply put, Gavin made my ex-wife's lawyer look like a guy who got his degree from a mail order catalog! Though he supposedly had been in practice for 30 years, Gavin mopped the floor with him! She countered every demand that my ex and her lawyer made with law that backed my position and she gave me awesome advice on how to respond to their attempts at extortion. In the end, my ex ended up with less than she had before she got greedy.