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3 facts about property division in a divorce

Divorce is one of the hottest topics around. With just under half of all marriages ending in divorce, it is one of the most stressful events impacting families. While most couples vow to be fair, usually something happens to tip the scales one way or the other. The result is anger and frustration over things such as child custody and money.

Even the division of property can turn ugly fairly quickly. There are a few things you should know before diving in.

1. Colorado is a marital property state

Marital property is everything acquired during the marriage. The impact of this policy is that the court divides property in a fair and equitable manner. However, this does not mean everything in the division is even. There are several factors the court considers when divvying up property:

  • Contribution to the marriage, including stay-at-home spouses
  • Age of spouses and length of the marriage
  • Income earned and income earning ability

Inheritances and gifts are not divided equally. They remain with the spouse who received them.

2. Separate does not mean what you think

Owning something before the marriage does not mean you get to keep it after. If you have a piece of property for years before you wed and the value of it rises substantially throughout the marriage, it is subject to sharing. Vehicles and titled items may also be subject to division even if the title is in one spouse's name.

3. 401(k) accounts are subject to division

Retirement accounts become a hot topic during divorce. This is due to the misunderstanding that they belong to the spouse who created and contributed to them. Unless the account is a pension, all investment and retirement accounts are subject to division. As in the case of property, the court looks at the contribution of each spouse to the marriage and determines the best way to split the money.

During a divorce, parties forget that they acquired property together. The terms of the uncoupling can set up a showdown in court. Knowing what to expect as far as property division prepares you for what may come.

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