November 3, 2017

How will the Court divide marital property?

One of the most fought over and emotional parts of a divorce in Colorado is dividing the marital property between Husband and Wife. Figuring who is entitled to what assets, such as the marital home, vehicles, personal property, bank accounts, and retirements, and who is going to pay what debts is an important part of the divorce process.

The Law

Colorado Revised Statue (C.R.S.) 14-10-113 says that in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage (divorce) or legal separation the court shall set apart to each spouse his or her property and shall divide the marital property, without regard to marital misconduct, in such proportions as the court deems just after considering all relevant factors including:

  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
  • The value of the property set apart to each spouse;
  • The economic circumstance of each spouse at the tie the division of property is to become effective; and
  • Any increases or decreases in the value of the separate property of the spouse during the marriage or depletion of the separate property for marital purposes.

Under the law in the State of Colorado, division of property is mandatory, not discretionary. Thus, the Courts have to divide marital property in a divorce between the parties.

Equitable, Not Equal

Quite often, my clients want their equal share of the marital property in their divorce case. However, in the State of Colorado, the parties in a divorce are not necessarily given equal shares of marital property. The Courts have to distribute property equitably between the parties in a divorce case. When property is divided equitably by either the parties or the Courts, it is deemed to be divided with fairness. Further, the trial court has broad discretion in dividing marital property to accomplish a just result.

There are many Colorado cases on point that specifically address how the Courts are to divide marital property. Specifically, In re Howard, 42 Colo. App. 457, 600 P.2d 93 (1979) said, “There is no requirement that the court divide property with precise equality in order to achieve an equitable division.”

The Reality

The reality is that dividing marital property between two parties in a divorce can be very hard. However, most cases figure out reasonable ways to divide their stuff and determine who is going to pay for the debts incurred during the marriage. When two people, husband and wife, understand that they may not get an exact fifty-fifty split of the marital property, it makes negotiation and possible settlement much more likely.

When figuring out how to divide marital property or making an argument in Court, stay focused on the numbers and data. Remember to “fight the smart fight, and not the emotional fight.”

If you have questions about marital property in your divorce, please reach out the Family Law Lawyers at Springs Law Group. We are here to help you and are more than happy to speak to you about your issues at a consultation.

Christopher Nicolaysen is a Family law Attorney who practices in Colorado Springs, CO. He graduated from Denver Sturm College of Law, and has been practicing law for several years now. Christopher Nicolaysen is passionate about helping you solve your family matters. Learn more about his experience here.

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