Along with the personal and emotional turmoil that accompanies many Colorado divorces, property division and how it will be addressed is a common concern for many couples. Although this often recedes to the background as a case moves forward, it can present myriad challenges. Being aware of key aspects of property and finances can serve as a protective shield to avoid long-term problems.

There may be a lack of awareness as to the family’s assets. Many might not even know how much they have, where it is, if it can be easily accessed and who has a right to it in a divorce. The first step is understanding the value. Without knowing how much the assets are worth, it can be difficult to divide it according to the law. There will be documents and statements regarding assets and these should be professionally analyzed.

Just as there are assets, there will also be debt. How much is owed on a home? What is the total credit card debt? Is there an auto loan? This must all be known beforehand. Also, many people have assets in both parties’ names, so the debt will legally belong to both. This may be worrisome. Liquid cash is essential to pay for the divorce and its aftermath. People will need to move, they might require child care, transportation could be different, and they could need to make purchases they otherwise would not if they remained married.

A strategy to follow during and after the divorce can be key. Property division will oversee how a home is divided, if it must be sold or if one spouse receives it in the divorce. If that is the case, there could be financial ramifications to retain it. If it is sold, the proceeds likely need to be split. Retirement accounts and Social Security are usually in place for the future. In a divorce, that can be upended. Despite a divorce, Social Security may still be divided depending on the length of the marriage and other considerations. The retirement accounts could be difficult to divide immediately because of possible penalties for early withdrawal.

There are many issues that rise to the forefront in a divorce. While children and custody take precedence, property division can lead to extended disagreements, lengthen the process and stoke acrimony. Understanding how to handle property division is imperative as it impacts other areas of the divorce. Consulting with an experienced legal professional can be helpful to handle these and other potential disputes.