In Colorado, as in many other states, the law requires the fair, just or equitable division of marital property when a couple divorces. In theory, whatever you buy or earn during your marriage belongs both to you and your spouse.
If you don’t have a marital agreement and can’t reach your own property settlement, then a judge will ultimately have to decide what happens with your assets and debts. The judge will review the property you disclose to them and then enter a property division order based on what they believe is fair.
What factors influence how a judge divides property in a divorce?
Economic factors influence the decision
Colorado state law lists numerous financial or economic considerations that a judge should review when deciding how to split up a couple’s property. These include the separate assets each spouse owns and their current income or earning potential. Someone’s health and how it might prevent them from earning a living wage could also impact the judge’s feelings about the individual spouse’s economic circumstances.
Family situations also influence the property division outcome
Given that children often require massive parental investment, the custody of your children can be an important consideration when a judge tries to estimate your economic circumstances.
Beyond custody arrangements, a judge will also consider the length of your marriage and the unpaid contributions speaks both made for the household in addition to what income they provided. Services as a homemaker can add up to over $175,000 worth of annual contributions to the household even if no money changes hands.
What doesn’t influence property division?
The one issue that many people assume will influence how a judge splits their property often has no bearing at all.
Those alleging adultery and other forms of spousal misconduct often feel disappointed to learn that state law forbids a judge from factoring in misconduct when dividing assets. In other words, a judge cannot diminish how much your spouse receives from the marital estate just because they cheated on you.
Learning about the property division process in a Colorado divorce can help you plan for your financial future.