Denver Marital Property Division Lawyers
Experienced Denver Marital Property Division Attorney Ready To Help You
Each state has its own laws about how marital property will be divided and how it is characterized. In Colorado, courts will order a division of marital property that is equitable and fair, but not necessarily equal. Spouses may keep their separate property. Often, our attorneys can help our clients work through with their spouses how to divide their property through either joint settlement discussions or mediation. However, if the spouses are unable to agree, our Denver marital property lawyers can take your case to trial so that a court will determine which division of property would be most equitable.
In divorce proceedings, one of the significant issues litigants may face is the division of the marital property acquired over the course of the marriage. Under Colorado law, both spouses have a right to their fair share of marital property after a divorce, but what exactly that property may be can be highly contested and difficult to agree on. While the division of property can be contentious in a relatively normal divorce, property division can become exponentially more complex when dealing with multiple assets in a high-net-worth marital estate. Regardless of whether your marital assets are simple or complex, we can help you through your divorce with a fair property division.
Retaining a Denver marital property division lawyer with years of insight and experience can be invaluable during this process. At Plog & Stein, P.C., we understand the difficulties of dividing marital property in a divorce, and the toll it may take on what may have initially been an amicable case. The first step is understanding your rights, options, and what you may be entitled to. If you need assistance properly dividing your marital assets, we can help you secure the property allocation you deserve, including enforcing orders after the case is done. Nothing matters more to us than the outcome of your case and your financial future.
Why choose our law firm?
How can our lawyers help with your case?
Property division for high-net-worth couples
Marital property division laws in Colorado
Property division during divorces in Colorado
Distribution of martial home and other real estate
Post-divorce enforcement of property orders
Why Choose Plog & Stein, P.C.?
The Denver family law issues attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C. are committed to giving exceptional representation to Colorado residents looking to divide their marital property fairly in a divorce proceeding. Between the attorneys on our team, we have over 70 years of combined experience in all matters of family law, including the complexities of property and asset division. We understand that each case is different and that differing assets have different methods for both valuation and division. These intricacies can have an impact on settlement discussions or the outcome at trial.
We regularly help our divorce clients with the division of all sorts of simple and complex marital assets, including:
- Real estate (both residential and commercial)
- Business interests
- Retirement accounts (401K’s, IRA’s, and Pensions)
- Investment and stock accounts
- Alternate compensation packages, such as stock options or NQDC plans
- Tangible, personal property
- Prenuptial and intra-marital agreements
In any asset division case, the first step is determining whether property, in whole or in part, is marital, what the value is, and how to properly divide it. When spouses own an array of assets, coming up with a division plan that makes sense for our clients is always the goal. Though we strive to settle each case in an efficient manner, some cases proceed to a final orders hearing, at which the court will determine how the marital assets are divided. They key to successfully resolving these issues is thorough preparation for negotiations or trial. Our years of experience allow the Denver marital property division attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C. to provide quality representation to our clients when dealing with allocation of their assets. Let us put that experience to work for you.
- We take a logical, rational approach to your property division matters, including a thorough financial evaluation of both parties before devising a sound legal strategy.
- We have significant experience handling the division of marital property in divorces and understand both the nuances of asset division and the evidence the court is looking for. We also know what a fair and appropriate property settlement looks like.
- We employ a team of experienced family law professionals who are devoted to providing one-on-one contact and attentive communication to our clients for any questions or concerns they may have.
- We regularly work with valuation experts regarding obtaining fair values on the various assets we may encounter. This can include dealing with forensic accounts for purposes of tracing hidden assets and income.
- We are interested in getting the job done correctly, not just going through the motions. Our attorneys truly care about the quality of their work and building lasting relationships with our clients.
We understand your desires to retain possession of any assets or property that is rightfully yours, and we will fight for you to ensure you receive what’s fair.
A Lawyer Can Be Essential for Marital Property Division Matters in Denver
You may have some disagreements with your spouse about who should receive certain parts of your marital property. This can include points of contention such as:
- Your spouse claiming your rightful assets as his or hers
- What to do with a business which you jointly claim as co-owners
- Any disputes involving real estate, and how to properly distribute that equally
- Other financial assets such as stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts
Dividing some marital property can entail complex financial affairs that require significant amounts of evidence, along with the representation of an experienced legal professional to argue your case on your behalf. At Plog & Stein, P.C., our team of family law professionals is well-versed in all aspects of Colorado marital property law, giving you valuable insights on what can be fairly divided and what cannot. Let us put our skills and experience to work for you.
We Are Well-Equipped to Represent High-Net-Worth Clients
Much of the financial niceties surrounding marital property division become more complex in a high-asset divorce. In addition to the normal analysis needed in a standard division of marital property, a divorce involving a large array high-value assets can present other challenges related to present valuation, potential income flow, division method, and future valuations. Though the principles for assessing marital property in a simpler divorce situation would apply, the need for multiple valuation experts and a keen understanding of the future ramifications of receiving or parting with a certain item of property can materialize. When dealing with significant, high dollar assets, more planning is required. When questions arise regarding hidden or depleted assets it can even become necessary to engage a forensic accountant to trace asset or cash flow.
At Plog & Stein, P.C., our team of Denver marital property division lawyers has the experience needed for handling high-net-worth divorces. We utilize our knowledge, experience, and resources to evaluate the marital assets you may have that are subject to property division, followed by formulation of a plan that makes financial sense for you. In each case, we apply certain rules for settling or litigating the marital property aspects of your divorce:
- Detail matters when negotiating a marital property settlement. As property settlements are generally not modifiable, making sure there is clarity in each term prevents ambiguities and problems downs the road.
- Liquidity in assets matters when people are facing uncertain income or cash flow changes due to the divorce.
- Not all retirement accounts are the same in terms of both present value and division method.
- Protecting non-marital property and making sure it is clearly identified and separated from any marital property is a critical step before determining the best plan for allocated the marital property in any case.
- Retirement dollars and other dollars are not equivalent, as retirement dollars taken out prior to requirement age generally come with a tax and penalty consequence.
- Making sure each client thoroughly understands his or her rights and options related to the entire marital estate and each item of marital property in their divorce.
We take a comprehensive, logical approach to your assets in order to effectively determine the best strategies for properly dividing your valued investments. We believe this is ideal in cases of high-asset divorce and have successfully helped high-net-worth clients seek their desired outcomes in the marital property division process.
How is Marital Property Defined in Colorado?
Colorado statute, C.R.S. 14-10-113, dictates that only marital property is eligible to be divided among spouses in a divorce. Before being able to determine a fair division of property and assets, you must first determine the type of all property that is being contested.
- Marital property generally refers to things bought or received during a marriage. This can include physical assets, like a home or furniture, investments, or even gifts given to both spouses as a couple. Items in both spouses’ names, such as cars and homes, are also part of marital property. This also includes any debts as well.
- Separate property includes property owned individually by spouses before the marriage – along with any property acquired individually during the marriage as a gift from a third person or through an inheritance.
Although this seems like a straightforward way to determine which property is eligible for distribution, there are exceptions which sometimes lead to dispute or litigation.
- A separate item of property may appreciate in value through the course of a marriage. Pursuant to statute, that increase in value will generally be considered marital property.
- Spouses can readily convert separate property into marital property via a written agreement, titling, or conduct. Spouses can also convert martial property to separate property, after marriage, via an intra-marital (post nuptial) agreement, which would operate similar to a prenuptial agreement.
- Separate property can often become intertwined with marital property (also known as “commingling”), causing complications in the property division process. For example, when one spouse takes funds which would otherwise be separate and puts them into a joint bank account, those separate funds arguably become marital property in nature.
At Plog & Stein, P.C., we understand that finances and assets can are incredibly important and are here to give you peace of mind through the divorce process. Our Denver divorce legal team is dedicated to working with you to make sure all of your assets are appropriately categorized and divided. Our goal to protect your assets during the stressful time that comes with divorce, and after.
How Property is Divided in Colorado Divorces
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. Unequal asset division 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.
Valuation of property in a divorce case is also highly important and something our lawyers are well versed in handling. Some property items are easily valued, such as a 401K with a specific balance amount.
Other marital assets require more complex valuations, such as the following examples:
- 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.
From time to time, marital 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 five years from when the divorce decree enters to deal with undisclosed assets.
Property owners with significant assets such as pensions, small businesses, retirement funds, investment properties, or “goodwill” may have more complex marital estates. A key aspect of dealing with complex marital estates is determining exactly what portion is marital property, identifying any separate property that should stay with the original owner, and determining ways to protect those assets.
We can also assess an individual’s interest in trust assets, as well as intellectual properties such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks. In order to make sure that our work is as accurate as possible, we may work closely with trustworthy professionals such as forensic accountants, appraisers, estate planners, and tax advisers. Property division may dramatically impact each party’s future wealth during a divorce. Therefore, it is crucial for Denver residents to retain complex marital estate lawyers and experts with experience in this area.
Suspect Your Spouse Has Concealed Assets?
At the outset of every divorce case, Colorado law (C.R.S. 14-10-107) puts into place an injunction prohibiting spouses from hiding, concealing, encumbering or depleting marital assets while the case is pending. You can, of course, purchase necessities or conduct business in an ordinary manner. However, you cannot take all the money out of your 401(k) or place an extra mortgage on your house. Both parties must disclose their financial position to the other side during the divorce, as well as report any transfers of marital assets which occur.
If you believe your spouse has concealed assets or depleted an account without your consent, our knowledgeable attorneys can investigate and make the court aware of these prohibited actions. The court may award you your share of any funds that have been dissipated by your spouse. Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 16.2, also authorizes the court to deal with undisclosed assets in some situations for up to 5 years after the divorce is concluded.
Understanding the Distribution of the Marital Home and Other Real Estate
Colorado courts divide marital property, including real estate, equitably, or according to what is fair, rather than precisely equally. When dealing with real estate in a divorce, there are generally two outcomes. Either one spouse is going to keep the home or the home is going to be sold. In either scenario, the marital equity in the home will need to be divided. As such, the first step is to determine whether the real estate is martial, whether all or part of it. For instance, one party may own the home prior to the divorce. Presuming the home is not subsequently titled jointly, the equity to be divided will be any increase that accrued during the course of the marriage and how the home is titled will not matter. This holds true for any real estate owned prior to the marriage.
In most cases, however, a couple acquires the marital home, or other real estate properties, together, during the marriage. If the parties elect to sell the home as part of the divorce process, the value will generally be dictated by the market and the price for which the home sells. In those instances, the parties will either agree on how to divide the proceeds or the court will ultimately decide.
In instances in which one party is going to keep the home, the two issues to be resolved are the division of the equity and removing the second party from the financing, presuming the mortgage is in both parties’ names. For purposes of determining equity, your attorney will suggest either getting a formal appraisal done, or hiring a real estate agent to conduct a comparable market analysis. Both methods can be used to determine the fair value and either valuator may end up testifying in court as an expert witness. Once value is determined, outstanding debt on the property and any non-marital intricacies will need to be dealt with to arrive at the martial equity. Unless there are other offsetting assets, the person keeping the home will likely have to refinance to pull equity out for the other spouse. When the mortgage is in both parties’ names, there will likely also be orders or agreements entered regarding removing the other spouse from the financing within a certain amount of time.
There are many details and potential pitfalls that can come with dividing real estate in a divorce. An experienced Denver marital property division attorney will not only be ready to advise you regarding your options but will also be there to represent you when the time comes to resolve your real estate issues in your divorce.
Enforcing a Property Division Order
Wrapping up your divorce can bring a certain sense of finality. Once the case is done and the decree of dissolution of marriage enters, it’s not uncommon for people to feel a certain sense of relief. Regardless of whether your final divorce orders regarding property were obtained through settlement negotiations or after a highly contested court hearing, being done is generally a positive thing. However, in many cases, getting the decree and your final orders is not the end of the story.
Once orders regarding the disposition of your marital property are obtained, the next step is going to be ensuring that they are followed. The Denver divorce lawyers at Plog & Stein, P.C. have years of experience helping clients make sure their final orders regarding property are enforced and that the court-ordered division of property is managed as smoothly as possible. With any marital estate, our goal is to make sure our clients ultimately receive the property they are entitled to. Though effectuating the property division orders goes relatively smoothly in some cases, there are instances in which future legal action may be necessary to gain compliance and to make the aggrieved party whole.
Remedies for enforcing property division orders can include:
- Contempt of Court
- Forced Sale of Assets
- Entry of Judgment
- Forced Transfers of Title
Given the variety of assets a couple may have, there is also an array of issues which can arise, particularly when orders are not followed. Post-decree property issues might relate to the disposition of the marital home or other real estate. Sometimes on spouse might be required to either sell or refinance the home, yet may either drag their feet or outright refuse to comply with the court orders. In those instances, the first step is determining what the most effective legal mechanism for remedying the situation will be in. Failure to sign necessary documents might be remedied via a C.R.C.P. Rule 70 motion, which ultimately concludes with the court signing necessary documents in place of the violating party. Other cases may require the filing of a contempt of court motion, which brings an array of both remedial and punitive sanctions, including, potentially, jail. When equity due is secured by a lien or deed of trust, we may need to facilitate the use of a real estate attorney to initiate foreclosure proceedings on the property. Prior to entry of your permanent divorce orders, having an attorney with the foresight to obtain detailed orders with as many built-in remedies as possible is optimal for preventing problems down the road.
When dealing with the division of financial accounts, the potential remedies will largely be dictated by the nature of the account. Dividing a 401K will necessitate entry of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. If the spouse participating in the plan refuses to cooperate, the court can ultimately enter a QDRO by force. The same holds true for some pensions. Getting to a bank or similar account for purposes of enforcement may be more difficult, perhaps necessitating a request to convert the amount of funds therein to judgment, with the ultimate conclusion being a garnishment of those proceeds. Gaining a judgment can also be an effective tool for securing proceeds via garnishment of another account owed by the violating party. Ultimately, contempt of court may be the only viable solution. Each case is different and discussing your options with an experienced divorce lawyer can help take some of the guesswork out of figuring out the best way to proceed.
Sometimes enforcing orders related to the simplest marital property items can be the most acrimonious process. Tangible item such as furniture, electronics, or perhaps a coin collection, are also marital property. Though people generally agree on how to divide these items in a divorce, our attorneys see instances in which one party refuses to hand over the household items or tangible goods allocated to the other spouse. In these cases, contempt of court is likely going to be the remedy with the most legal teeth. If tangible property can be valued, a judgment can either be sought for the value in a stand-alone motion or as one of the remedies sought in the contempt proceedings.
We Address All Issues with Division of Marital Assets
The division of marital property in a divorce starts with the initial divorce proceedings leading up to the entry of a divorce decree. Marital property issues, such as who gets the house or how the other spouse will get their equity will either be agreed upon through settlement or decided by the judge if agreements can’t be reach. In some cases, obtaining orders regarding the division of the marital assets is only the first part of the process.
Once the decree of dissolution of marriage enters, there may be other steps to be taken or issues that arise. At Plog & Stein,P.C., our dedicated marital property division attorneys will be there with you throughout the process, to make sure orders are followed and that you ultimately receive the property you deserve. It can take weeks or months for a retirement plan to be divided or transferred. Your orders may call for continued oversight regarding refinancing a home or the payment of marital debt. Regardless of the circumstances we can help.
We tailor all of our decisions to your specific needs. Ultimately, we want to be sure that you come out of these proceedings with a resolution that is more than fair for you and your specific circumstances. Whatever your needs related to marital property, the first step in the process of hiring the right family law firm to fight for you.
We Want to Help You. Contact Us Today.
It is possible for divorcing couples to represent themselves in court. However, this can put you in at a disadvantage and cost you dearly, particularly if your spouse has a marital property division lawyer from Denver. The complexities of divorce cases can be hard to navigate if you don’t have any prior legal experience.
The legal team at Plog & Stein, P.C. is here so you don’t have to face that circumstance alone. Contact us online or call us for a confidential consultation with the Denver marital property division attorneys of Plog & Stein, P.C.
Whether your divorce is proceeding smoothly or becomes highly contested, we dedicate ourselves to your case so that you receive your rightful portion of marital assets. We can assist you with determining what counts as marital property, calculating how much you deserve to receive, and representing you through both negotiation and court. If you need help with other aspects of your divorce, such as child custody and support, our lawyers can meet those needs as well. Our only goal is to protect your future as you move on to the next chapter of your life.