Colorado Springs Property Division Lawyer

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Colorado Springs Property Division Lawyer

Colorado Springs Property Division Attorney

One of the most important matters that must be settled during the divorce process is the division of assets and property. While dividing marital assets may seem straightforward, the process requires the careful attention of a Colorado Springs property division lawyer who will work to protect your personal property. They should ensure that your spouse receives what is lawfully theirs and not one penny more.

Commonly Divided Assets in Colorado Springs Divorces

In a Colorado Springs divorce, the division of an estate could involve a range of assets and debts. Property could refer to physical property like jewelry or real property like land and buildings.

  • Real estate: One of the most common assets that have to be divided during a divorce is the home. Some couples may have multiple properties, such as rental properties, vacation properties, and any parcels of land owned by the couple.
  • Financial assets: Any assets that were bought or accrued value during the marriage are subject to division during a divorce. These could include financial assets like stocks, bank accounts, bonds, mutual funds, 401(k)s, IRAs, annuities, and pensions.
  • Personal property: Over the course of a marriage, couples can accumulate large amounts of vehicles, electronics, jewelry, art, vehicles, boats, and other forms of personal property.
  • Business interests: Business owners will have to find a way to equitably divide their business assets. These could include ownership interests in a business, partnerships, or sole proprietorships. Although it is theoretically possible that a business could be liquidated as part of a divorce proceeding, your property division attorney can work to preserve your business.
  • Debts: Many people focus on assets during the division of an estate, but debts are also owned by both spouses equally and have to be divided accordingly. These could include credit card debts, mortgages, student loans, and other financial obligations.

How Do Courts Divide Property in a Divorce?

Colorado’s family courts follow the principle of equitable distribution when dividing an estate. The idea is to divide property and debt in a manner that is fair to both parties, not necessarily what is equal. If both parties do not come to an agreement on how to divide the estate, a judge will consider the earning capacity, age, and ability to work of both parties, as well as other considerations, when dividing the estate.

Marital vs. Separate Property

The first step when dividing property during a divorce in Colorado Springs is to account for all assets and debts owned by the spouses. Once this is done, those assets and debts must be further divided into one of two categories.

Marital property is subject to division by the courts. This refers to anything that was acquired during the marriage. In the eyes of the state, marital property belongs to both spouses. Common examples of marital property include cars that were bought during the marriage. If some or most of a home was paid for during a marriage, that abode is likely to be considered marital property.

Separate property is defined as any asset or debt that was brought into the marriage, gifted, or inherited. If you owned a watch before you married, that watch is yours and not subject to division by the courts. The same is true for any object or property that you were given as a gift.

Separate property is transferable. This means that once you establish that an item is separate property, anything that is bought from the sale of that property is also separate property. If you owned a car before marriage and sold that car during your marriage, anything you bought with those funds remains yours outright.

Disputes Over Property

Debates over what is or isn’t marital property are common during a divorce. The burden of proving that something is separate property generally falls on the person who claims that the asset or property is not marital property.

Often, assets are in one spouse’s name. This does not automatically mean that the asset or property is theirs. Even when stock options, bank accounts, and other things of value are in one person’s name, the courts may view that property as belonging jointly to both spouses.

Accounting for every asset and property tied to a marriage can require the insight of a seasoned divorce lawyer who understands how to find less obvious or even hidden properties and assets.

An Overview of the Property Division Process

Property distribution in divorce is complex but can be simplified through cooperative negotiation. Spouses who divide property fairly among themselves avoid the need for costly protected litigation. The aim of the courts is fairness.

You and your spouse are foremost situated to understand how to divide the estate fairly. Settling property division issues outside of court can save time and money. If spouses cannot come to an agreement, a judge makes a ruling on the equitable division of an estate.

  • Assigning value: It is important for spouses to remain reasonable and fair when assigning value to assets and property. Intentionally overvaluing or undervaluing marital property can complicate and confuse the court process. Hiding assets is an even worse offense that can lead to a judge finding one party to be in contempt of court.
  • Working together: Even when both parties have independent legal counsel, the ideal goal is to work together toward resolving the division of an estate. You can work with your spouse to create a list of all the major assets and debts that need to be divided. Then, assign a value to each item listed. If the value of the property isn’t clear (such as with an antique heirloom), you can have those assets appraised.
  • Assigning rightful ownership: Begin by assigning the rightful owner to specific pieces of property and then attempt to assign ownership to each item on the list. Start with the most valuable items and keep track of the total value assigned to each partner. Smaller items may be used to offset any imbalances.

The final step involves obtaining the court’s approval. When both parties are able to resolve their differences and work together to tackle the division of an estate, the divorce can be finalized soon after the state’s waiting period. Once the judge reviews the division of property and assets and deems the division to be equitable, they will issue a court order dividing the estate. This is done along with the settling of other aspects of the divorce.

FAQs

Q: How Are Assets Split in Colorado Divorce?

A: Colorado is an equitable distribution state when it comes to dividing assets during a divorce. Equitable means fair, so the final division may not come down to 50-50. In some cases, a judge may rule that a down-the-middle division would not be fair to one party. For the most part, assets and debts acquired during marriage are evenly divided during a divorce. The division of assets must be settled before a divorce can be finalized.

Q: Are High Net Value Divorces More Complicated?

A: High net value divorces can be more complicated. Couples who have estates valued in the millions of dollars can face unique challenges. Simply locating and accounting for all properties, investments, and assets of a high-net value estate can be daunting and require the help of financial experts.

It is more common in the division of a large estate for one or both spouses to attempt to hide assets. Concealing assets is considered a serious matter, and anyone who engages in those acts risks being found in contempt of court.

Q: How Long Do You Have to Be Married in Colorado to Get Half of Everything?

A: There is no minimum amount of time you have to be married to be entitled to half of the marital property during a divorce. Couples who have not been married long are unlikely to have a significant amount of assets to divide. Spouses who have been married for decades or longer often require significantly more time to account for and divide up property and debts.

Q: Is Colorado a Community Property or Common Law State?

A: Colorado is not a community property state or common law state when it comes to property division during a divorce. Rather, Colorado is an equitable distribution state that views all assets and debts acquired during marriage as belonging equally to both spouses. In the event of a divorce, the courts will supervise the division of land, assets, and debts in an equitable manner.

Q: Is My Wife Entitled to Half My House if It’s in My Name in Colorado?

A: In Colorado, your wife is entitled to half your house if it’s in your name and is determined to be marital property. During separation, you can remain in your home if it is in your name. If the courts find that your home is considered marital property, half of the value and the debt tied to the home belong to your wife. If you owned the home before the marriage, it would likely be considered personal property.

Your family law attorney could attempt to find a suitable exchange of assets that allows you to keep your home.

Schedule Your Colorado Springs Property Division Consultation Today

The division of assets and debts during a divorce can seem daunting. You will want an attorney who understands how to protect your property from being unfairly divided. The attorneys at The Law Center P.C. are here to make the process easier while ensuring that your rights are protected. We have helped many clients settle their divorce through the fair division of their estate. To schedule your property division consultation, contact our office today.

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