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If you are facing a divorce, an important concern should be the division of your marital property, also referred to as property distribution. This amounts to the division of the assets and debts that you and your divorcing spouse acquired together during the course of your marriage. This distribution will likely play a significant financial role in your future, and it’s important to give the matter the careful attention it deserves. Issues related to property distribution can become very complicated very quickly, so working closely with a knowledgeable Aurora divorce attorney with considerable experience in complex property distribution is in your best interest.
Under Colorado family law, the courts seek to divide marital property in a manner that is considered equitable. In essence, equitable refers to a manner that is fair, given the circumstances involved. In other words, each of you will not necessarily receive exactly one half of your marital property.
Generally, any assets or debts that you acquired as a married couple qualify as marital property. This is opposed to that property that either of you brought into the marriage with you, which usually remains separate property. If you acquired property during the course of your marriage that is in one or your names only, it does not alter the fact that it is still marital property (based on the fact that you acquired it while you were married).
There are some exceptions to the rule related to acquisitions made during the course of your marriage. These include:
If one of you received either an inheritance or gift in your name only during the course of your marriage, it remains the separate property of the recipient.
The line between marital property and separate property can be exceedingly fine. For example, if you owned a small business when you entered into your marriage, that business is your separate property, and if you kept it separate during the course of your marriage, it remains your separate property. Maintaining that separateness, however, can be tricky – many families naturally commingle their funds. Even if you did carefully keep your business separate, though, you likely still have an issue. If your business is worth considerably more now than it was at the time of your marriage, that increase in value is marital property. Things can get far more complicated from here.
Many people are confused to learn that their retirement accounts are marital property and not private property. If, for example, your retirement account was created during the course of your marriage, the entirety of funds accrued is marital property. If, on the other hand, you came into the marriage with the account but added to its value while you were married, the increase in value qualifies as marital property. Clearly, the issue can be exceedingly complicated – especially when multiple accounts and retirement-related financial tools are involved.
While your Social Security benefits are not universally subject to division in divorce and the amount cannot be offset in divorce, that isn’t the end of the issue. If your marriage lasted at least ten years and the spouse claiming benefits is at least 62 years old, the claimant can receive Social Security benefits on his or her ex’s record.
The division of property in a divorce is not a taxable event, but there can be complicating factors. If your finances are complicated by an issue such as the division of a retirement account or your divorce involves high assets generally, you could get into a tax jam in the divorce process. Working closely with an experienced divorce attorney with considerable skill in property distribution is the best way to guarantee that your rights are well protected and that you receive the distribution of marital property to which you are entitled.
The distribution of your marital property is far too important to you and your children’s financial future to leave to anything other than the professional legal counsel of our experienced Aurora property division attorneys at CNL Law Firm, PLLC. We have extensive experience protecting the financial rights of clients like you throughout the divorce process, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (720) 370-2171 for more information today.
CNL Law Firm, PLLC focuses on helping families regain peace of mind during legal circumstances.