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Couples often battle ferociously over who gets what property during a divorce. When couples cannot agree about how to split up their property, the court must step in and do it for them. The court has great discretion in deciding property settlements, but Colorado laws put parameters on what the court may do. Colorado statutes mandate that the court divide marital property and assets according to principles of equitable distribution.
The first thing that the court needs to do when determining the property division in a divorce is determine what is marital and non-marital property. In general, anything that each party had prior to the marriage is non-marital property and anything the couple acquired during the marriage is marital property. There are many exceptions to this rule, however, and determining marital and non-marital property can be quite complicated.
After the court has determined whether property is marital or non-marital, it must put a value on all of the marital property. Colorado is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the court will divide the marital property equitably between the two parties. Equitably does not necessarily mean equally. Rather, the court will look at a variety of factors to make a property division that is the most fair given the circumstances.
Colorado statues authorize courts to consider “all the relevant factors” of a couple’s situation when dividing property, but specifically list the following:
One thing the court will not consider when making a property settlement is marital misconduct.
Because courts consider a variety of factors when making property settlements, the process can become complex. If you are considering a divorce, consult an experienced asset division lawyer who can help ensure that you get a fair property settlement.Posted in: articles