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Are Assets Always Split 50/50 in a Divorce?
Posted in Divorce on December 11, 2019
Asset division is one of the key matters in any divorce case in Colorado. If you have discussed divorce with a family law attorney, you may have asked how the courts might divide you and your spouse’s shared assets and debts. Colorado is an equitable division state, meaning that while the courts will divide assets in a way that is fair, it will not necessarily be a 50/50 split.
Community vs. Separate Property
First, it is important to differentiate between the types of assets the courts will have jurisdiction to divide and those that will remain with the original owner. Community property describes everything you and your spouse acquired together during the marriage. This could include a home you purchased together, furniture you bought, vehicles you purchased after you wed and any debts you accrued while married. Separate property is all the assets you and your spouse owned before you married. It also refers to items given specifically to you as gifts and assets you inherited.
In a divorce case in Colorado, the courts will divide community property but leave separate property alone. Anything that belongs only to you as separate property will remain in your ownership after the divorce. The community or marital property you acquired together, on the other hand, will go before the courts for equitable division. If you have questions about which assets and debts are community vs. separate property in the eyes of the law, speak to an attorney in Colorado.
How Do Equitable Division Laws Work?
States use either equitable division or community property laws to split assets during divorce cases. In equitable division states such as Colorado, the courts will decide property division based on what is fair for both parties. What is fair may not be a 50/50 split. If one spouse racked up a mountain of debt, for example, the courts may assign that spouse a larger percentage of community property debts in a divorce than the other spouse. The courts will look at many factors to determine how to divide community property in Colorado.
- The proportion in which each spouse contributed to acquiring the property
- The values of each spouse’s separate property
- Each spouse’s economic circumstances at the time of divorce
- Which spouse will receive custody of children
- Any depletion of one spouse’s assets for marital purposes
During a divorce case in Colorado, the courts will look at these factors and others to decide how to allocate assets and debts to each spouse. The courts will not, however, look at fault for the divorce in determining asset division. The courts will not take adultery, for example, into consideration when splitting community property. Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. It will not consider fault when making decisions about child custody, spousal support or property division.
How Will the Courts Split Your Assets?
Before the matter of asset division goes before a judge, you and your spouse will have the opportunity to create your own asset division plan. You can work together with your spouse and a divorce mediation lawyer during divorce mediation or arbitration to compromise on how to split your shared assets. If you both keep open minds and use assistance from a mediating attorney, you may be able to agree on asset division and have a judge sign off on your arrangement. If not, the matter will go to court.
During asset division in a divorce trial, a judge will review both sides of the case, analyze the assets and debts in question, and rule on how to split the property in a way that is fair. While this does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split, many judges will rule on this type of division to be fair to both parties. In a 50/50 split, each spouse will receive half of marital properties and half of marital debts. If you have questions about how a judge might divide your property, ask an attorney for more information.
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