Denver Divorce

Division of Marital Property in Divorce

Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. This means the grounds for divorce is a marriage that is "irretrievably broken with no chance of reconciliation." Because Colorado is a no-fault state, divorce is referred to as "dissolution of marriage."

If you are going through divorce, you have legal rights and responsibilities that are protected by Colorado law. As your lawyer, I will do everything I can to come to a reasonable settlement of marital property division and child custody, parenting time and decision making, and support through negotiation with your spouse and his or her attorney. However, I am not afraid to go to court whenever necessary to protect your rights.

Divorce is called "dissolution of marriage" in Colorado. If both sides are in agreement, you can complete the legal process in 90 to 120 days. However, if you and your spouse cannot agree on all issues, a divorce can take six to 12 months or even longer.

How Marital Property is Divided in Colorado

When it comes to marital property division, it doesn't matter if your ex was the best spouse or the worst spouse. The court will divide marital property without considering marital conduct or marital misconduct.

Marriages are treated as business partnerships, and the starting point is to divide assets acquired during marriage is 50-50. In Colorado, the rule is equitable distribution, which is not the same as equal distribution. Many times the court will give more assets to the partner who doesn't make as much money or the partner who has the responsibility for the children the majority of the time. The court can also consider the contributions of the parties to the marriage when dividing the marital property equitably.

If one side brings property to the marriage or inherits property during the marriage and doesn't put the other spouse's name on it, that property may be set aside as separate property. However, any increase in value to the separate property during the marriage becomes marital property and must be considered in the division of property.

Retirement plans, 401(k) and SEP accounts are usually before-tax dollars. Since a portion of these assets must be paid in taxes at the time of distribution, these pre-tax assets should not be valued the same as after-tax assets.

It is also important to know the tax consequences associated with each property. Some properties will have a low basis and, upon sale or distribution, the holder will have income taxes to pay on the transfer price less the basis.

Will I Pay or Receive Alimony or Maintenance?

If your combined income is $75,000 or less, then the Colorado court will use a formula to determine temporary alimony (called maintenance in Colorado) while your divorce is in process. The court has discretion to award permanent alimony based on the needs of the lower-income party, the other side's ability to pay, the division of debts and assets, and the amount of money paid in child support.

Learn more: Child custody and visitation

For more information or to schedule an attorney consultation about divorce: call 303-427-5581 or complete the contact form on this site. My law office is located near the Pecos Street exit of the Denver-Boulder Turnpike.