Broomfield Property Division Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce, you may have concerns about property division. Colorado courts divide property equitably, but this does not always mean a 50-50 division of assets and debts.
At Danielsen Westhoff, PC, our skilled Broomfield family law attorneys have represented individuals with similar concerns in Broomfield, Jefferson County, and across northern Colorado. From the initial consultation through the divorce process, Danielsen Westhoff, PC, will keep your best interests at the forefront.
Our Broomfield property division attorneys are often able to obtain the best possible outcome through negotiation or mediation. When there is evidence of dishonest conduct such as dissipation of assets, hiding property, or running up significant debts, Danielsen Westhoff, PC, will take the case to court to protect your financial future. Contact our Broomfield property division lawyers today for a free initial consultation.
Marital Property in Colorado
In Colorado, property acquired by either spouse during marriage is generally marital property. It does not matter how that property is titled.
Marital property is anything with value and can include:
- Real estate (equity)
- Bank accounts
- Stocks, mutual funds, and other investments
- Retirement accounts
- Motor vehicles
- Personal property
- Household goods
When spouses divorce, the court will divide marital property equitably based on the value on the day of dissolution unless the parties have agreed otherwise.
Is Colorado an Equitable Property Distribution State
Colorado is an equitable property distribution state meaning the marital property is divided based on the principles of fairness, not equality. The court has great discretion when dividing property and considers several factors when making its ruling.
These factors include but are not limited to:
- The length of the marriage
- The financial needs of each spouse
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- The standard of living enjoyed by the spouses during marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- The prior marriages of either spouse
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage including homemaking and child-rearing
The court may also take the value of each spouse’s separate property into consideration.
What about Separate Property in Colorado
Separate property is a confusing concept. Separate property is property held by one spouse alone. It is usually property owned by a spouse before marriage.
Separate property may also include:
- Property received by one spouse only by gift or inheritance
- Separate property exchanged or invested for new property and continuously held apart from the marital property
- Property specifically named as belonging to one spouse alone in a valid prenuptial agreement
Separate property can easily mix or become commingled with marital property making its origin difficult to trace. Separate property may also increase in value during a marriage due to the efforts of the non-owner spouse making any increase in its value marital property.
How are Marital Debts Divided
Marital debts are also subject to equitable division regardless of which spouse’s name is on the debt. The court will divide the marital debts fairly, taking into account a number of factors, including the spouses’ incomes, their respective responsibilities for the debts, and the overall fairness of the division.
The Dissipation or Hiding of Marital Assets
When a spouse uses marital funds for a non-marital purpose, that spouse may be subject to an offset by the court before the division of marital assets. An example of a non-marital purpose would be money spent in furtherance of an extramarital affair.
Hiding marital assets in anticipation of a divorce is illegal and punishable in Colorado.
The Property Division Process in Colorado
There are four basic steps in the property division process. These are identification, classification, valuation, and distribution.
The first step in the property division process is identification. The spouses must disclose in writing every asset and debt in which they have an interest or liability.
If any documentation exists for an asset or debt, that documentation needs to be produced and a copy provided to the other spouse or their attorney.
After identification of all assets and debts, each must be classified as either separate or marital. An experienced divorce attorney can provide examples of documentary proof that an asset or debt is separate.
Spouses can agree on the value of collectibles, art, or hard-to-value items. Other items, like real estate, must be appraised. A business valuator can assist with business interests.
Divorce attorneys are in touch with experts in nearly every field who can help with valuations of items, real estate, collections, and more.
Once all assets and debts are identified, classified, and valued, an equitable distribution can take place.
Spouses who cannot reach an agreement on property division through negotiations, mediation, or some form of alternative dispute resolution must appear before the court to have orders entered on their behalf. Doing so can be risky for either spouse.
Contact an Experienced Broomfield Property Division Attorney Today
If you have questions about the division of property in a divorce or legal separation, contact Danielsen Westhoff, PC, today. We can help you understand Colorado’s property division laws and work with you to achieve a fair division of your marital property.
Schedule an initial consultation with one of our Broomfield property division lawyers by calling Danielsen Westhoff, PC, at (720) 739-1770 or by sending an email.