Unlike the divorce process in community property states, Colorado’s equitable distribution laws seek to divide property so as to be fair to both parties — but not necessarily equal.
The court will consider whether the property is marital or nonmarital.
Generally, property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is marital property. Separate or nonmarital property belonged to a spouse before marriage and remains his or her own. If a separate asset has increased in value during the marriage, the increase is a marital asset.
Some property acquired after marriage is not considered to be marital, for instance, gifts and bequests. An exception may be a gift from one spouse to the other, which may be separate or marital property.
Any property acquired after the issuance of a decree of legal separation is not considered marital property.
When deciding how to divide property in a divorce settlement, the court does not penalize a party for marital misconduct. It considers “all relevant factors” such as the parties’ ages, health, current and future incomes, as well as the standard of living in the marriage.
The Colorado statutes direct the court to consider:
For maximum control, divorcing spouses may choose to work out a fair division of property outside of court. If the court agrees the agreement is fair, it will approve it.