Do Colorado Divorce Courts Divide Marital Property Equally?
A common question our family law attorneys receive from new clients is: how is marital property divided? More specifically, clients want to know whether the division will be equal?
Steven Lambert is a family law attorney at Robinson & Henry’s Westminster office, and he answers this important question in this informative video.
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How is Marital Property Divided?
This question comes up quite a bit from our new family law clients. What they really want to know in addition to how is marital property divided, is if the court will divide the marital property 50-50, right down the middle. The answer is: not always.
Colorado Revised Statute 14-10-113 addresses this question. State law allows for certain circumstances where you might not receive an exact 50-50 division of your marital estate. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios when an estate may not be equally divided.
Few or No Contributions to the Marital Estate
You may not see a 50-50 split of marital assets when one spouse makes few or no contributions to the marital estate. Here’s a good example: Let’s say a spouse moves out of the marital home and the parties do not divorce for several years. In this situation, the court could find that the spouse who moved out and stopped contributing to the marital estate is not entitled to any increase in its value.
A Lower Earning Capacity
A common circumstance is one in which one spouse does not have the same earning capacity as the other spouse. Perhaps the spouse with the lower earning capacity was a homemaker for several years or a stay-at-home parent. If that spouse does not have the same ability to accrue a 401(k), improve their finances, find a new house, buy a new car – whatever they need to start fresh – the court might divide the estate unequally to account for that difference.
Intentionally Concealed Marital Assets
When you get divorced, you are required to disclose all of your marital assets. Some people will try to hide assets to avoid losing them in the divorce. You can’t do that. So, if there has been some sort of failure to disclose assets, maybe some sanctionable conduct on the part of one of the parties, the courts can divide things as radically as 60% to one spouse and 40% to the other, based on those circumstances.
For the most part, though, Colorado courts do try to divide things 50-50.
Talk to a Divorce Attorney
If you’re considering divorce, we highly recommend you take advantage of a free case assessment. Depending on your circumstances, you may decide it’s in your best interest to get a lawyer. Call 303-688-0944 to start.