How is Property Divided in a Divorce in Colorado

Laura E. Shapiro -

If you and your spouse have agreed it’s time to go your separate ways, you may be asking, “How is property divided in a divorce in Colorado?”

It’s difficult to let go of the assets you’ve worked for over the years. However, just because you’re divorcing doesn’t mean that you’ll lose everything. A skilled divorce attorney will fight for your rights and work hard for an outcome that’s fair to you.

torn piece of paper with a gavel in between the pieces

What Counts as Marital Property in Colorado?

In Colorado, marital property includes all assets and debts acquired by each spouse throughout the marriage, regardless of title. Examples include:

  • Your marital home
  • Vehicles
  • Businesses
  • Retirement accounts and pension benefits
  • Investment accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Increases in the value of separate property throughout the marriage

What Is Separate Property?

Separate property includes anything you owned before the marriage, including gifts and inheritances, as long as you kept those titled in your name only. If you own separate property and it has increased in value, the increase in value is considered marital property.

How a Colorado Court Divides Marital Property

So, how is property divided in a divorce in Colorado? If you and your spouse can’t agree on how to split assets and marital debts, the court will divide both under equitable distribution rules.

The court will attempt to divide debts and assets in a “fair and equitable” way, but that doesn’t mean you both end up with equal shares of everything. To split property, a judge considers:

  • Asset and debt value
  • Each spouse’s income and general financial standing
  • Whether a spouse used separate property for marital purposes
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including whether a spouse stayed home to care for children

Dividing Retirement Assets

Are retirement accounts subject to division in a divorce? It seems unfair, but sadly, the answer is yes. Colorado enforces the division of both IRAs and 401(k) plans. You’ll also divide taxable investment accounts and defined benefit pension plans.

Sometimes, it’s tough to know how much your retirement accounts are worth. A divorce attorney can ask a financial professional to determine their value for you. They can also draft a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to divide accounts with your spouse.

Dividing retirement assets can quickly become complicated if you and your spouse have a variety of accounts. If you need help with this, contact Shapiro Family Law for advice.

Dividing a Business

If you launched your business before the marriage, Colorado considers any increase in value to be marital property unless you protected it with a prenuptial agreement. That means you’ll have to include the business’ increase in value in your marital estate.

Colorado divides businesses in the same way it does with other marital assets, but you won’t necessarily have to split a percentage of ownership. More commonly, you can keep the business in exchange for giving your spouse something else, such as the marital home.

Splitting a business can come with many potential pitfalls. If you’re not careful, your decisions could impact business operations or even force you to close entirely. This is why you need counsel from an attorney who has experience with dividing businesses in Colorado.

Protect Your Assets with Help from an Experienced Divorce Attorney at Shapiro Family Law

If you’re going through a divorce, the prospect of dividing hard-earned assets with your former spouse can feel overwhelming. With a knowledgeable Denver divorce lawyer at your side, you don’t need to go through this process alone.

For a more detailed answer to the question, “How is property divided in a divorce in Colorado?” reach out to Shapiro Family Law at (303) 695-0200 today.

Laura E. Shapiro

Laura Shapiro is an award-winning Family Law Attorney with 40+ years of experience. Laura practices Family Law exclusively with her primary focus being divorce and child custody matters.

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