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Getting divorced in Colorado? Four important facts about property division

Knowing the basics about asset distribution can help ease the stress of a divorce.

Property division is often the most contentious portion of a divorce. Determining who gets what and how much various assets are worth is a stressful process. Having some basic information about how the process works can help. Four specific issues to keep in mind include:

  • Assets are distributed equitably
  • Debt is part of the equation
  • Valuation is a complex process
  • Legal counsel is a necessity

Understanding these four points can make a big difference in reducing the stress that goes along with a divorce.

Asset distribution in Colorado: What does equitable mean?

Colorado is an equitable distribution state. This means that assets are not necessarily split 50/50 during divorce. Instead, the courts are expected to distribute the assets in a manner that is deemed fair.

A number of factors are taken into account when making this determination. Some examples include the contribution of each spouse to the marriage (including that of a homemaker), the economic circumstances of each spouse and the presence of any separate property. Separate property is that which is owned by one spouse and not subject to division during the divorce. This can include things owned prior to the marriage and any inheritance, as long as these assets were not commingled with marital property.

Who owes what: How are obligations for debt determined?

Marital debt is often the obligation of both parties. Again the court will attempt to determine a settlement that provides a fair allocation of debt to each spouse.

These determinations can extend to include actions that will take place after the divorce is finalized. In some cases, a spouse may be required to put future earnings towards paying off marital debt. There are also situations that allow repayment if one spouse paid off the debt of another.

Valuation and marital assets: How much is it worth?

Before a division is deemed equitable, the court must have an idea of how much the assets are worth. Valuing some property is relatively easy. The amount an asset like a savings account is worth is a pretty straight forward process.

Unfortunately, other assets like retirement accounts, stocks and business interests can prove more of a challenge. Determining the value of a business, for example, often requires review of various documents including financial statements and tax returns.

Getting a fair settlement agreement: Do I really need a lawyer?

It is generally wise to seek legal counsel when going through a divorce. Divorce is a complicated process and involves many different legal issues. Property distribution, child custody and child support are just a few of the complicated legal matters that must be resolved before a divorce can be finalized.

In addition to the many legal complexities of these issues, a divorce is also an emotional life event. Your attorney can help guide you through this process, better ensuring you get a divorce settlement agreement that meets your needs.