Every state has its own approach when writing its laws concerning the dissolution of marriage and the division of assets between the spouses. When it comes to divorce and the ensuing property division, a state is either a community property or equitable distribution state, with most falling into the equitable distribution category. Colorado is an equitable distribution state.
An equitable distribution state does not automatically assume that any property or assets gained during a marriage is owned equally by the former spouses. In this type of divorce, a court will attempt to divide property and assets in a fair manner so that each spouse receives an equitable portion of an asset or the cash value of such. In Colorado — and in the majority of equitable distribution states — the court will look at the contribution of each partner to the marriage.
In these situations, the spouse who purchased an asset or contributed the most financially to the marriage will usually be awarded the greater share. The courts will, however, take into consideration the sacrifice one spouse may have made to be a stay-at-home parent for children. Also, any property acquired or gifted to one spouse will remain in the sole possession of that individual unless the parties had previously made another agreement.
Additionally, Colorado does recognize a common law marriage, and the same laws will apply. When a couple is going through the process of obtaining a divorce, the importance of property division may overshadow many other aspects because having sufficient financial reserves may make all of the difference in one’s separate new life. An experienced family law attorney would be a valuable source of information and support throughout the process.
Source: FindLaw, “Colorado Marital Property Laws“, Accessed on June 16, 2017