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Dividing Property in Divorce - Equitable Distribution

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Unlike other states such as California and Texas, Colorado follows the principles of Equitable Distribution of Marital Property. The word Equitable is related to the concept of "fairness", though it does not mean equally distributed. In this article we take a look at some features of this type of division.

Marital Property and Prior Conduct

In determining the division of Property, Colorado Law introduces the concept of "Marital Property." This refers to all property acquired by either spouse after marriage. Certain types of property are exempt such as gifts or by agreement. It is this property that is mostly subject to division.

Other types of properties that have been acquired after the marriage but are exempt from being declared as marital assets can include those that have been acquired in exchange for a property acquired before marriage or those acquired due to a previous legal separation.

The court also states that conduct during marriage is not to be taken into consideration when dividing marital property. This falls in line with the "no fault" divorce procedures followed by Colorado.

Factors that play a role in equitable distribution

In determining fair division, the law lays down certain guidelines that are taken into consideration. For example, one important factor is the role that each spouse has played in the acquisition of marital property. This has an impact regarding the proportion that is allotted to each.

In addition, this role does not necessarily have to be financial. The Court recognizes the contribution of a spouse as a "homemaker" as well.

It must also be clarified that inherited property is not always allotted to the spouse who inherited it. It is a strong factor that is considered, but there are circumstances when even that falls into the ambit of Division of Property in  Divorce.

Allocation of the Family Home

This can be a complex issue. However, if there are children involved, the court usually grants the Family Home to the spouse with whom the children reside the majority of the time. In case there are no children, and the house belongs exclusively to one spouse (before marriage), then the home will go to that party.

In case it is a joint home, the court will have to come up with some way to make the division equal. In all cases, it is preferable for both the spouses to sort it out on their own. But sometimes, the court does need to step in. 

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MPatMarrisonFor over a quarter century, we have helped people during what is often the darkest time in their lives. Divorce is not easy even under the best of circumstances. For most people, family is central. Having something go wrong in the family can have a ripple effect that extends beyond the home and into other areas.

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