If divorce is on the horizon for you and your spouse, you know that the division of assets is likely going to be an issue. And when you are gearing up for a potential fight over property and finances, it’s best to ask, What am I entitled to in a divorce? The short answer is that you are entitled to whatever is fair according to your circumstances and the law. There are many factors that determine what is just, and we can give you an overview of what those are.
Understanding your rights in a divorce can help you better assert your position in court or the negotiation room and may help you take away a larger share of the marital property than if you proceed in an uninformed fashion. But the most effective tool you can use to help ensure you get everything you deserve when your marriage ends is the counsel of a knowledgeable and skilled attorney. At Plog & Stein P.C., we have decades of experience and focus exclusively on family law matters. We are here to be your advocates when there are changes in your marriage and to make sure you walk away with everything you are entitled to.
Dividing Assets in a Divorce
So, what is a wife entitled to in a divorce? And what is a husband entitled to in a divorce? In general, husbands and wives are entitled to the same things when divorcing, and what they receive in divorce decrees depends on the unique facts of their cases.
What Does the Court Divide?
Typically, a divorce court divides only the marital property among the spouses and not the separate property. Under Colorado law, marital property is whatever you and your spouse obtain during your marriage, except for the following:
- Any property you or your spouse receives by descent, bequest, devise, or gift;
- Any property you and your spouse have validly agreed is not marital;
- Any property you or your spouse acquired in exchange for property owned before the marriage or property received by bequest, gift, descent, or devise; and
- Any property you or your spouse acquired after a decree of legal separation.
Determining what property is marital and what is separate is not always a simple task. It is a task that will be done through either settlement discussions or a court hearing. Once the marital estate has been determined, meaning what is marital and what is separate, the marital assets can then be divided. While Colorado law requires an “equitable” or fair division, spouses don’t always agree on what that means.
How Does the Court Divide Assets?
Colorado divorce courts divide marital assets based on the following factors:
- The economic circumstances of you and your spouse,
- The contributions you and your spouse have made to the acquisition of the marital property (this includes contributions as a homemaker),
- The value of the property set apart to you and your spouse, and
- Any decreases or increases in each spouse’s separate property during the marriage.
When considering these factors, the court can also take into account the desirability of giving the family home to the spouse who has the children the majority of the time. Depending on the circumstances, the court may also divide the proceeds of any business you or your spouse owns.
What If My Spouse’s Misconduct Is the Reason for the Divorce?
When it comes to justly distributing marital assets, Colorado courts typically do not take fault for the divorce into account. In fact, Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. However, actions that your spouse has taken to deplete your property or income during your marriage might garner you a larger share of the marital estate when divorcing.
What About Spousal Maintenance?
Sometimes, one spouse’s financial obligations to the other extend beyond the finalization of the divorce and the share of the marital estate that the other receives. Some spouses are entitled to spousal maintenance, but this is not a given in every case. You must request maintenance in your divorce. And if the court grants your maintenance request, the duration and amount of your payments will be based on an array of statutory factors, with the judge ultimately determining what is fair and equitable for you and your spouse.
A judge looks at the following when making decisions regarding whether to award maintenance:
- The financial resources each spouse has,
- The gross income each spouse receives,
- The reasonable financial needs that were established during the marriage,
- Whether maintenance awarded would be federally taxable for the recipient and deductible on the payer’s federal income taxes, and
- The marital property awarded to each spouse in the divorce.
Once the court has conducted this analysis and made its decision, it moves on to calculating how much the maintenance award should be and how long it should last.
The amount of maintenance you could be entitled to depends on how long you were married and the resources that you and your spouse have. In general,the duration of maintenance could span from a few months to a lifetime. Divorce courts tend to follow intricate guidelines regarding the amount and duration of maintenance. Those guidelines may not apply to marriages with high income earners. We can help you work through these guidelines and ensure that you receive the maximum available to you under the law.
What Is a Military Spouse Entitled to After Divorce?
If you or your spouse is in the military, you still divorce under state law, and the court still divides assets and makes determinations regarding maintenance as outlined above (although your rights to installation housing end quite quickly). However, a former spouse of a military member could have additional rights.
Former spouses of military members could be entitled to the following privileges until they remarry:
- Medical, and
To be eligible for these privileges, you have to have been married to the military member for at least 20 years, and that military member has to have 20 years of creditable service under their belt. Please note that if you are active duty military or a veteran, our attorneys offer 10% off their hourly rates.
Divorce courts have a lot of discretion when making decisions about the division of assets between spouses, which means you have an opportunity to state your case based on your financial circumstances, what type of work you put into the relationship, and your post-divorce needs. Our experienced attorneys at Plog & Stein P.C. can evaluate all the facts of your case and present them in the best light to make sure the judge gives you your due.
We Can Protect You in a Divorce
Our attorneys at Plog & Stein P.C. know how to smooth out the rough edges of any divorce and make sure you depart with what you deserve. We have combined decades of top-rated experience that is exclusively focused on family law matters. If you need help with the dissolution of your marriage, you can look to us. Please give us a call or contact us online to schedule an appointment.