What laws guide property division in Colorado?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2023 | Divorce |

When couples decide to divorce in Colorado, they have to separate their lives. In most cases, they will have shared everything from their home to their income for years. Property division is often one of the most pressing matters to address during Colorado divorces. Not every married couple has children, but shared resources and debts are near-universal elements of modern marriages.

Spouses either need to agree with one another on how they handle certain financial issues or rely on the courts to settle their disagreements. During property division disputes, judges can decide who keeps what assets and who is responsible for different marital debts.

Colorado has an established asset division statute

There is one specific law that typically governs property division matters during Colorado divorces. There is an equitable distribution statute that guides judges when they must make choices about how to split up marital resources. Although equitable does sound a bit like equal, equitable distribution rules do not require a 50/50 split of marital property. Instead, the law requires that the judge consider certain factors from the marriage when deciding how to fairly divide the property between the two spouses.

Equitable division can look very different depending on the separate property, income levels and health of the spouses. Judges may even consider child custody arrangements and the unpaid contributions that someone made to the marriage when deciding how to divide marital property. Certain assets, like resources owned before marriage, inheritances and gifts from someone other than a spouse are separate property. Anything else acquired during marriage may be subject to division.

Judges can award certain assets to each spouse, use debt to balance out property or even order the sale of assets. Given that so much is left to the interpretation of the judge presiding over the case, people are often very anxious about the outcome of litigated property division matters.

Those who are worried about preserving certain resources may have more incentive than the average individual to reach a settlement with their spouse resolving their property division disagreements outside of court. As a result, learning about the laws that apply during a Colorado divorce may help people choose the most informed path forward when facing the end of a marriage.