Property division is one of the 5 major issues that can arise in a divorce case, whether in the Denver, Colorado area or elsewhere. The attorneys at Plog & Stein are skilled in dealing with property matters arising in a divorce case. In Colorado, courts will divide property “equitably.” Thus, Colorado is an “equitable division” state, as opposed to a “community property” state. The key for all parties in a divorce case to remember is that the judge has the power to allocate property as he or she sees fit.
Property division in a divorce case derives from statutory section C.R.S. 14-10-113. The first step our attorneys will take is to determine what is marital property and what is not. Marital property will general be any property acquired during the marriage, so long as it was not acquired by gift or inheritance. Property which is not “marital” is called separate property. One should keep in mind that increases in value to separate property during the course of the marriage can be considered “marital” property. Separate property which is subsequently jointly titled can also become marital. Our attorneys are ready to analyze the property held by you and your spouse to concretely determine what is marital and what is not.
As a general rule of thumb, most Denver area judges or courts will divide marital property equally. However, in some instances a court will divide property not necessarily equally, such as a 70/30 split. This may occur in instances in which one party has a much higher income or ability to replace property or as may relate to alimony. This might also occur in instances in which one party is allocated more of the marital debt. Your attorney can explain this further and can also discuss how, in some cases, the amount of property retained by a party can also affect alimony. Visit our denver divorce attorney blog for a brief discussion of property in terms of categorization.
Valuation of property in a divorce case is also highly important and something the Plog & Stein lawyers are well versed in. Some property items are easily valued, such as a 401K with a specific balance amount. However, other marital assets require more complex valuations. Homes may need to be valued via the services of an expert appraiser. Businesses may require a business valuation expert. Pensions are often divided via what is called the “Time Rule Formula.” Knowing the value of each property item is important because property is not automatically split in half. Rather, whether done by the court or agreement of the parties, the key is to generally mix-and-match assets such that each party ends up with a roughly equal share of the proverbial marital pie.
Our attorneys are ready to assist you with protecting your separate property and making sure that the property acquired during the marriage is appropriately valued and fairly divided. Though judges will generally roll their eyes in disgust (or order a garage sale), we can even assist with dividing the pots and pans. From time to time, property issues can arise after the divorce is done, such as in instances in which one party conceals property when making his or her financial disclosures. It is important to keep in mind that the Court generally only retains jurisdiction for 5 years from when the divorce decree enters to deal with undisclosed property.
An attorney should approach property division in a divorce case in a methodical and learned manner. At Plog & Stein, our goal is to make sure that the property needs of each Denver area client are dealt with in such a manner. We recognize that your assets are important, no matter how big or small. Contact one of our attorneys via our website or at (303) 781-0322 to discuss the property aspects of your divorce case.