Dividing assets during a divorce case in Colorado is often one of the most complicated aspects of a split. Assets can include not only physical property such as a home or vehicle but also financial assets such as bank accounts, retirement savings, stocks, bonds and paid vacation time. During a divorce, the courts require both spouses to disclose their accrued paid leave on the Sworn Financial Statement Form. Vacation, sick and personal leave could be a substantial asset one or both parties own. This could change the division of assets during a divorce case.
Vacation and Sick Time as an Asset
The Sworn Financial Statement Form is a Colorado-Supreme-Court approved document that asks for specific salary and asset information. It requires each spouse to state whether he or she has a job, how many hours he or she works, pay rate, type of work, monthly gross income and miscellaneous income. It also asks for a breakdown of monthly expenses, including housing, utilities, food and health care costs. Finally, it requests details about the person’s assets, real and financial.
The form also has a box for miscellaneous assets. It is here the spouse must check “Accrued Paid Leave (sick, vacation, personal)” if this asset applies. The Colorado courts may see this type of asset as one that is divisible during a divorce case. Paid leave could amount to a substantial sum depending on the spouse’s income and available leave. Someone who earns $10,000 a month, for example, could have $10,000 in unpaid leave assets if he or she has a month’s worth of unused time off. Thus, each spouse needs to be honest in recording accrued leave on the financial form.
How Does Colorado Divide Accrued Leave in a Divorce?
Each state divides property differently in divorce cases. Colorado is an equitable division state, meaning the courts will rule in a way that is fair, but not necessarily even. Rather than automatically splitting marital assets 50/50, the courts will analyze the unique case and determine asset division accordingly. The courts will look at factors such as each spouse’s economic circumstances, physical custody of children and the value of the properties in deciding asset division.
When it comes to dividing vacation and sick time, the Colorado family courts will only view accrued leave as a divisible asset if the person can cash it out. If the spouse has a right to request payment for this time from an employer, the courts will view it as part of marital property. Thus, it will be eligible for division along with the rest of the couple’s marital property (as long as the spouse accrued the time during the marriage, not before marriage or after separation). If the spouse cannot receive time off as a cash payment, however, it will not enter the case as a divisible asset. Each spouse will need to examine his or her employment agreement to find out whether the right to cash out accrued time off exists.
In cases where accrued time off does count as marital property, the courts can view it as part of that spouse’s income for calculations such as alimony and child support. The courts may also divide it between each spouse as part of a property division agreement. If the couple can agree to property division without court intervention, a judge will typically sign off on the arrangement the couple created. If the couple cannot compromise, however, the matter will go to a judge to decide. A judge in Colorado may decide to give none, part or all of one spouse’s accrued time off to the other spouse in a divorce case.