How Is Property Divided?
Assets must be deemed either “marital property” or “separate property.” If the property is agreed to be “marital,” it will be equitably – not the same as “equally” – divided according to Colorado statute.
Property obtained prior to the marriage is “separate,” but any increase in value during the marriage is marital property. For example, if one spouse purchased a home in 1995 (before the marriage) for $80,000, but wants to sell it in 2008 (after the marriage) for $150,000, then the increase in value ($70,000) is considered “marital” property.
However, some property is always considered “separate,” even if it was obtained during the marriage, such as an inheritance. The inheritance itself is separate property, but any increase in value of the inheritance during the marriage is considered marital property.
Can I keep my personal bank account? It’s only in my name, not my spouse’s name.
Not necessarily. According to Colorado law, both spouses must provide the court (and one another) with financial documents in order to best ascertain the value of assets obtained during the marriage. In other words, you must disclose all financial documentation and then it will be up to the court to decide what is “separate” property and what must be divided between the spouses. Even though your bank account is only in your name, it may still be considered marital property if:
- The funds you deposited were earned during the marriage, or
- Interest was earned on premarital funds or the account increased in value in some other manner during the marriage
Who takes on the marital debt?
Marital debt is equitably distributed in the same manner as assets. Normally, the party who is allowed to keep a certain asset, such as a car or the home, will likely be responsible for the corresponding debt.
Do I need to sell the house?
It depends. The house is a marital asset if it was purchased during the marriage. How marital assets are divided depends on the circumstances of your case. If you are able to keep the house in a division of assets, then you will also have to look at your ability to pay the mortgage and expenses. Maintenance may come into play, depending on your situation, and the question of keeping the house can only be answered by your attorney after looking at the state of your affairs.
Review additional Colorado divorce law information by using the links in the upper left-hand corner, or ask our Colorado divorce lawyers a legal question. We will provide you with details about the property division process.