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What factors are considered in dividing marital property?

When a Colorado couple divorces, their marital property is divided on an equitable basis. Sometimes people are surprised to learn that "equitable" does not necessarily mean "equal." Instead, under Colorado law, the judge is required to divide marital property -- which generally means property obtained during the marriage, with some exceptions -- on a basis that he or she determines is just. The judge is required to consider several factors in making the equitable division.

These factors include the contribution each spouse made to acquiring the marital property. This doesn't simply mean that the spouse who paid for something gets to keep it; the statute says the relevant contributions include those of one spouse as a homemaker. If one spouse stayed home to raise the kids while the other spouse earned income for the family, both contributions are considered relevant with respect to the acquisition of marital property.

Another factor the court will consider is the value of the separate property, which is set apart for each spouse and not divided. Finally, the court must consider the economic situation of each spouse after the property is divided. Included in this factor is the appropriateness of awarding the family home to the spouse who will have custody of the children most of the time. The statute expressly provides that misconduct by one spouse during the marriage, such as an affair, is not to be considered in dividing marital property.

Property division in divorce can be complicated and contentious. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help a spouse get a fair result under the law.

Source: Colorado Revised Statutes, "Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-113," Accessed July 20, 2015

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