Division of Marital Property and Debt
Dividing property and debt can be a stressful process for couples undergoing legal separation or divorce. If you want to make sure that you get a fair share of your marital assets or have concerns regarding your premarital property, then it is advisable to have a professional law firm on your side.
Property division is among the major issues that come up during a divorce. Colorado is an equitable division state and not a community property one, meaning that the courts will divide property equitably, as stated in C.R.S 14-10-113. The important thing to keep in mind when going through a divorce is that the judge has the power to allocate the assets as he or she deems fit. It’s ideally vital that you know equitable property division does not necessarily mean an equal division. It means a fair division as opposed to the 50-50 common belief.
So, What Property is Subject to Division?
Marital property, ideally referred to as community property are things that you and your spouse acquired and shared during the marriage period. Non-marital property, on the other hand, are assets or items that were acquired as inheritance or a gift or were brought into the marriage by one spouse.
Valuing marital property is a very technical task, but a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney like Mary can help identify marital and separate property before the division process starts.
Whether the property is separate or marital, it’s important that you seek legal assistance for your divorce. The starting point is usually an equal division of marital property before anything else can be put into consideration.
Not all property that was brought into a marriage as separate property continues to be separate property during the marriage, some property brought into the marriage becomes marital property depending on how it was used.
When making decisions regarding property division, several considerations need to be kept in mind. These include:
- The length of the marriage
- The contribution of each spouse to the marriage
- Each person’s current job, income and future prospects
- The earning capacity, age and health of each spouse.
- Other property available to each spouse
- The amount of assets each spouse brought into the marriage
- Preference of each spouse for keeping certain assets like a particular car or the marital home
What about Debt?
Like assets, all of the parties’ debt will be identified during the divorce as separate or marital debt. Generally, most of the debt of either party is considered marital debt and will be divided equitably upon dissolution. The most common types of debt parties have are car loans, credit card bills, student loans, and mortgages.
It’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer about things like closing joint credit card accounts, opening separate credit card accounts, or paying off debt.
Bankruptcy can also throw a wrench into the division of marital property. If you or your spouse has undergone bankruptcy or are considering it, consulting a family law attorney as well as a bankruptcy attorney is essential for protecting your rights.
Some individuals think they can handle a divorce on their own with the aim of saving money, but with marital property and debt at stake, things can go sour pretty quickly. It is always wise to get competent legal assistance in order to fight for a fair division of assets, debts, custody arrangement and child support.
Even a single consultation with a good family law attorney can help you assess how your assets and debts should be divided in a very broad sense.
Don’t leave marital property and debt division up to chance. You need the best Colorado Springs divorce attorney to make sure you’re treated fairly and for the best outcome possible for your divorce.