Greenwood Village Legal Team Helping with Property Division
Skillful divorce lawyers committed to fair and equitable solutions in Colorado
If you’re anticipating a divorce, you may be wondering what your property rights are. You might have heard that marital property will be split evenly. Though that’s true in community property states, Colorado is an equitable distribution state, so different rules apply. Here each spouse is entitled to keep all of their separate property, and marital property is divided fairly, though not necessarily evenly. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Leonard R. Higdon in Greenwood Village have the necessary knowledge and familiarity with Colorado’s property division laws to help you pursue a fair outcome in negotiations or court.
How equitable distribution works in Colorado
Equitable distribution is a three-step process of identifying, valuing and dividing all assets and debts. In the first step, the parties to the divorce must fully disclose all of their assets and debts, and a determination is made as to whether each item is separate property, owned by the individual, or marital property, held in common by the couple.
Separate property consists of assets acquired prior to the marriage, growth in the value of those assets as well as profits from them (if held separately), and certain types of assets, such as inheritances and gifts given to one spouse individually during the marriage. Otherwise, any assets or debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage are considered divisible marital property. In some instances, “commingling” occurs, meaning that assets that might have been separate property at one time have become part of the marital estate.
The second step in the process is assigning a value to each item in the marital estate. This includes assets such as
- Businesses and intellectual property
- Stocks and bonds
- Real estate, including the marital home
- Fine art
- Home furnishings
High-priced items can require professional assessment, and this could lead to a valuation dispute between hired experts.
The final step is the actual distribution of the assets, which is not necessarily a simple 50-50 split. The courts consider numerous factors when deciding what parts of the marital estate should go to each spouse. These include:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of the marital property
- A spouse’s contribution as homemaker or a primary caretaker of young children
- The economic circumstances of each spouse
- The desirability of awarding the family home or the right of occupancy to the spouse with whom the couple’s children will reside for the majority of the time
- Any change in the value of a spouse’s separate property during the marriage
- The depletion of a spouse’s separate property for marital purposes
- Retirement funds
- Pensions and annuities
The court is permitted to consider all factors that are relevant to the case. As your advocates, we direct the court’s attention to any and all pertinent facts and build a strong case so that you can secure a result that treats you fairly and allows you to move ahead on solid footing.
Dedicated advocates look to minimize conflict when seeking property division solutions
Whenever possible, we strive to convert an otherwise stressful and contentious matter into a positive resolution. Our experience has equipped us to resolve many conflicts through negotiation and mediation, affording you greater control over the outcome. But even if you and your ex-spouse are unable to initially agree on an equitable marital division, we are committed to finding creative ways to bridge the gap.
Dividing retirement assets during divorce
In many cases a court will decide that one spouse has an ownership interest in the other’s retirement savings, such as a 401(k) account. Given the tax consequences associated with the liquidation of such an account, there is a special instrument that is used when these assets must be divided. Courts issue a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) dividing the account in proportion. Our attorneys have ample experience with QDROs to help clients obtain a fair result.
Contact a Greenwood Village divorce lawyer today for a free property division consultation
The Law Offices of Leonard R. Higdon in Greenwood Village, provides knowledgeable counsel on property distribution matters for our divorcing clients. Call 303-740-1966 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our office is conveniently located at 6565 S. Dayton Street, just off I-25.